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Published: November 2nd 2009
By daytime on Saturday, the flowers are already beginning to accumulate.
All Saints Day in Slovakia, as well as many other Slavic countries, is a highly celebrated holy day. Throughout the entire weekend, Slovak families travel across the country to visit cemeteries where their deceased family members are located. Cemeteries overflow with flowers and thousands and thousands of candles are lit and placed on the graves. Families take time to meet together and take care of their family members' gravesites. Because some families must travel to multiple cemeteries across large areas of Slovakia, this begins taking place on Friday and doesn't end until late Sunday night, when the actual observance of All Saints takes place. Virtually all Slovaks travel to their local cemetery late on Sunday night to pay respects and light candles. Additionally, war memorials that commemorate the World Wars are highly decorated.
Although the practice is similar to Memorial Day in the United States, All Saints Day in Slovakia has a much larger observance. It generated more traffic on the road than virtually any other day in Slovakia, including Eastern and Christmas. A large industry has sprung up to accommodate All Saints Day observance in fact. Flower shops in town start stocking memorials several weeks before All Saints and Tesco
A monument to people who "gave their lives for the ideas of Communism." Notice that it is still decorated each year.
(a Wal-Mart-like store here) has its own dedicated All Saints Day isle, much like Wal-Mart might have one for Halloween or Christmas.
The experience was very unique and quite powerful. Local radio stations play sad music all day and take calls from people to give memorials about deceased relatives. In the cemetery the smell of burning wax is overpowering and the cemeteries are quite beautiful, especially at night. The pictures show a little bit of the experience of All Saints Day here in Slovakia.
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