The tradition of lighting candles on All Saints’ Day, celebrated in various Slavic countries, is a deeply symbolic and significant custom. This age-old practice goes beyond mere illumination, carrying profound cultural and spiritual meaning.
The Illuminating Tradition
All Saints’ Day, celebrated on November 1st, is a day when families gather at cemeteries to honor the memory of their loved ones who have passed away. Lighting candles on the graves is a way of paying respect and keeping the memory of the departed alive.
The Symbolism of Light
In Slavic tradition, the candle’s flame is believed to serve as a guiding light for the souls of the deceased. It symbolizes hope, warmth, and a connection between the living and the departed. The act of lighting a candle is seen as a way of protecting and comforting the souls on their journey to the afterlife.
While the tradition of lighting candles is common across Slavic countries, there are variations in the way it is practiced. In some regions, people place candles directly on the graves, while in others, they use lanterns or special candle holders.