Halloween in Warsaw could be either a prelude or a finale to something more impressive, depending on which way you look at it.
That ‘impressive something’ would be the most important holiday for the Polish people. It takes place on November 1, the day after Halloween, and it is the real reason you want to be in Warsaw at this time. Today, Halloween customs coincide nicely with their own special tradition of Zaduszki (All Saints’ Day).
On this Memorial Day dating back 1000 years, people will criss-cross the country visiting the graves of departed relatives, lovingly tidying up grave sites and setting wreaths and candles.
Cemeteries look like carpets of flickering little fires in coloured glass lanterns, and no memorial plaque or statue is without flowers and candles. No one is forgotten. Everywhere you walk there are signs that people have been there, that they still care.
Halloween is not celebrated in Europe but in recent years it has gained popularity in certain circles. In Warsaw you’ll see people walking around town or sitting in cafés and restaurants in full or partial costumes. The young generation likes to dress up and party; children like to masquerade and go trick-or-treating.
If you have a particular fondness for Halloween and happen to be in Europe around October 31, or are planning to be, a trip to Warsaw should be a destination. You will be pleasantly surprised as well as deeply touched.
The city of Warsaw naturally lends itself to Halloween-type fun.
In the last few years Warsaw has developed a reputation as a “foodie” city. The town’s architecture works in tandem with this new status. Most restaurants and cafés are at street level, often with large windows that reveal attractive interiors that make you want to go in. But which one? They all look so inviting.
After you’ve settled in at a cozy restaurant, try some of the local specialties and seasonal dishes, like roast goose leg glazed with pears, served with Polish potato dumplings and apple pie.
Coming next: A Warsaw Stopover
Featured Header Photo: Nowy Swiat, Warsaw’s Main Street. (Photo: Dorothy Garabedian)