All Saints’ Day and the Day of the Dead
In Hungary the first two days of November commemorate our deceased loved ones. The 1st, which is today, is called All Saints’ Day. This day remembers all the saints whose names are not represented in the Hungarian calendar. It has been a holiday since the 9th century. According to the Catholic Church, the living and the dead meet on this day in a mystical communion or fellowship.
November 2nd is the Day of the Dead. On or around this date people visit their loved ones’ graves, clean their gravestones, light candles and leave fresh flowers on them. In certain Hungarian speaking areas there are even more customs people follow during this time. For example, some believe that their dead loved ones will visit them on the night of November 1st, therefore they serve bread, salt and water for them at dinner.
I’d like to share some of my cemetery images with you. Cemeteries in the US and in Hungary look very different. In Hungary, most people visit their loved ones’ grave quite often, and they take care of them. The graves look very different from one another. Some are completely enclosed and they have vases for fresh flowers. Others have plants and flowers planted in an opening, which need more care. Unfortunately, there are a huge number of graves, which are not being taken care of, especially in the capital city. Due to this fact many cemeteries look neglected, and some parts are even dangerous to walk in. Gravestones are falling apart, wasps nest on abandoned tombs, and the weeds also make walking among the graves very difficult for those, who still regularly visit their loved ones.
Fortunately, this is not the case in all cemeteries. In smaller cities, towns and villages people take more pride in the care of their cemetery. Kőszeg is a good example for this.
The residents of another smaller town, Zalakaros even take care of the “Old Cemetery”, which is not in use any more.
Although this is not a typical American cemetery, I wanted to show you a few images I took in the Fort Rosecrans National cemetery in San Diego.
I live thousands of miles from my birth town. It’s not possible for me to visit my grandparents’ grave today, but every summer I take a special trip there with my parents and my daughter.
Are All Saints’ Day and the Day of the Dead holidays in your country/culture? Do you regularly visit your deceased loved ones’ grave? Who is taking care of the cemetery in your town?