Forgive my hiatus, it is a bit late to be writing on the topic of All Saints’ which I meant to write earlier but nonetheless, I have been busy with studies and all anyway I will try to write more diligently, at the very least once a week.
The story goes thus according to the Catholic Encyclopedia All Saints’ Day is a “Solemnity celebrated on the first of November. It is instituted to honour all the saints, known and unknown, and, according to Urban IV, to supply any deficiencies in the faithfuls celebration of saints’ feasts during the year. “ In Polsce the people are predominantly of the Catholic faith as for myself though I am of the Protestant faith but regardless I thought it necessary to join in the celebration. November 1st fell on a Thursday which was good we had a four day weekend! We left for Kunice a small town near the city of Legnica where some of my family on my father’s side is buried. The train ride from Kraków to Legnica is a little over five hours… I love the fact that no matter where you need to go within Polska or Europe for that matter there is a train that goes there. Even within the city they have local trains as well as electric trams and buses, which makes it very easy to travel, and the cost is very reasonable. There is almost no need for a car, and all of this transport is mostly provided by private enterprise with some public subsidies. But I digress a subject for another post… Currently lets focus on All Saints’ Day, the train ride to Legnica went by with no hitch, and the countryside is beautiful to see when your riding through, for me it never gets old.
Around one o’clock we arrived at the train station in Legnica, a brief note on the train station it is over one hundred years old and was built by the Germans, it feels like you traveled back in time in this station. The city itself was under German control from Eighteen Seventy-One until after World War II when it was transferred back to Poland following the Potsdam Conference. After that the city of Legnica became one of the headquarters for the Russian army so not much else in the city has changed either as a result. But enough of history, leaving the train station there is a bus stop thirty meters from the station where we got on a bus to travel to Kunice. We arrived in this quaint town of about thirteen hundred people. We stayed with a family who was good friends of my grandmother. My grandmother used to buy eggs and milk from them, one reason why I loved the town so much when I was there over ten years ago as it had that true rural feel. But now a lot of that has changed and disappeared over the years, the town used to have over twenty cows but now there is not one, something I dearly miss. However what has not changed is the hospitality, we were treated as family, and the other folks we visited that weekend could not have been nicer, and this is true for most people you visit even if just by acquaintance. By the time we got unpacked it was in the evening so we ate a light supper which is custom in Polsce. Usually they eat a light breakfast called Śniadania, then have what is called Obiad around one or two in the afternoon which is a three course meal, then around eight they have a light supper called Kolacje which is quite different from the States.
Since being tired from the train ride we went to sleep after kolacje, plus the next day we had to go to church at nine o’clock. Getting up the next morning we went to the only church they have in town which maybe can hold one hundred and fifty people so not a very big church considering the town has over one thousand people. Sad thing is I did not understand ninety percent of what the priest was saying… But even though I did not understand I still felt humbled. After mass and the liturgy we went back home and waited until after the second mass around noon to travel to the cemetery where the priest gives another liturgy. With us we brought several lanterns made for such occasions which are then lit and left on the grave which is customary for each person to leave one. Flowers are also put on the grave. When we got to the cemetery slightly earlier than the priest, every grave had been adorned with flowers and these lanterns the day before, a beautiful sight indeed but sobering at the same time. Also I would like to note the weather that day was particularly cold, windy, and gloomy adding to the somber tone. To make a long story short the feast afterwards was amazing, a lot of the ingredients in the food was fresh from the garden, which reminds of the good old days. I know its cliché, call the cops quick! Anyway the next day is day 2 of the festivities known as “All Souls’ Day” or “Commemoration of All Faithful Departed” which is principally observed in the Catholic faith. On this day we visited the cemetery once more to pay respects and again another feast was prepared just as good as the last. After this we stayed one more day and left Saturday to Wrocław where we stayed with a couple more family friends for yet again you guessed it more food! Heh it seems no matter where you go people are either offering you food or wódka its amazing, something to note about the kindness and hospitality of the Polacy meaning Polish People.
After leaving Wrocław Sunday and arriving in Kraków in the afternoon it was the end of a long, memorable, and humbling weekend. Forgive me again for taking so long to post this… As for my final thoughts I would like to add, that even if you are not spiritual in anyway, or have a different faith other than Christianity, I think we can mutually agree that one day out of the year respective of your faith, celebrating those who came before us, is essential… That being said let us raise a pint for the people that aren’t with us! Yours Aye, wherever you are stay free!