All Souls’ Day celebrations in Porabje
Porabje, October 31, 2006.
On All Souls’ Day,
Catholics commemorate the dead. Of course, this ecclesiastical holiday is
also celebrated annually in the villages of the Slovene Raba Region. On this
holy day, graves are traditionally affectionately decorated with colourful
flowers. As a consequence, something like an unofficial
“competition” about the most beautifully decorated grave is held.
For this reason, the flower shops in Szentgotthárd
offer an exceptionally great variety of flower arrangements and wreaths. On
November 1 (All Saints’ Day), the villagers betake themselves to the
cemeteries and visit the graves of their deceased family members and
acquaintances. In the process, they also visit the graves of family members
who have passed away already a long time ago (80-100 years). What is more,
the people who have come from far away also consider this celebration day a
possibility to return home. Therefore, November 1 is not only an occasion to
commemorate the deceased* but also the day, when friends and relatives gather
on the cemeteries in order to talk together and jointly commemorate the dead.
Furthermore, you come across skilfully carved pumpkins almost everywhere in
the villages of the Slovene Raba Region. These pumpkins, which are a sign of
the pumpkin seed oil season, remind you of the famous American (originally
Irish) custom called Halloween, which is now often celebrated in
* On November 1, All Saint’s Day, Catholics commemorate the saints and martyrs of the Church. On the
subsequent day, November 2, the believers commemorate the dead. Since people only have a day off on November 1, they usually visit the cemeteries and commemorate the dead already on that very day.
Pictures Tibor Horvat & Joël Gerber