All Souls Day in Liverpool – how the Polish celebrate Halloween
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Volunteers from Merseyside Polonia gathered at Allerton cemetery in Liverpool at the graves of Polish servicemen who formed part of Great Britain’s Air Brigade, with which they fought on the side of Allied Forces.
The volunteers lit lights and laid wreaths to commemorate the pilots.
Visiting graves on 2 November is a very important tradition in Poland. All Souls Day comes right after All Saints Day and its tradition dates back to pre-Christian times’ belief that placing the special candles, which can burn for many hours helps the ‘departed souls to find their way through the darkness’. Back in Poland on this day cemeteries are lit by hundreds of these candles.
During the Second World War many Polish soldiers fought in Western Europe. Operations of Polish troops such as participation in the Battle of Britain (Polish Squadrons) or the Battle of Monte Cassino (II Polish Corps) made a strategic contribution to the Allied Forces’ victories. After the war however, it turned out that in the new political situation coming back to their homeland meant threat to their personal security and life and so many of them remained in Western Europe, e.g. the Great Britain.
Our presence at the graves of Polish pilots is a symbolic expression of remembrance, continuing tradition and communicates the willingness to connect the so-called ‘old’ and ‘new’ immigrations.