All Souls’ Day: Candles at Calvary cemetery in Minsk


On November 2, Belarusians mark Dzyady, the day of All Souls.

On the eve of Dzyady believers go to the cemetery to light candles in memory of their dead. Very often the candles dim there until the early hours.

Holy Fathers, fly here!

By tradition, on Dzyady Belarusians used to take a steam bath and then leave some water and a broom for the departed souls who, as the legend says, come back to their houses on this day. A hearty meal was prepared because one had to feed and entertain their ‘dzyady’ – otherwise they could offend and send down misfortunes and ilnesses upon their successors.

In some places guests (usually relatives, neighbors and sometimes beggars) were invited to the dinner. Before sitting down, a host with a candle in his hands went around the table three times, opened the windows and doors and called the names of their forefathers.

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