Today is an important day for Croats, as majority of them celebrates a feast called All Saints’ Day. It is a national holiday tied with Roman Catholic Church calendar, which emphases our connections with deceased relatives and friends.
According to Catholicism, one’s existence doesn’t end with death. Rather, people continue to dwell in heaven or hell, depending on deeds they performed during their lives. If they reach paradise, they are considered saints, and this day is a traditional manifestation in their honor.
Because of this belief, it is a custom to visit cemeteries on All Saints’ Day, cleaning and decorating the graves of people we hold dear. Technically, a lot of people are doing this in days prior to today; so that places of eternal peace are already decorated once the feast begins.
The custom is not closely tied to Catholic people though. Followers of other beliefs, including those who declare themselves atheists, are also following the tradition. Because of that, cemeteries become quite vivid places, where people meet and often share memories they had together with the deceased. And although it is imagined as a contemplative gathering, All Saints’ Day often becomes a celebration of life itself.
Today’s feast day could also be of interest to people who’d like to see Croatian cemeteries in their greatest shape. Check out the gallery below, which contains images from former All Saints’ Day, to understand what the celebration is all about, and consider visiting localities such as marvelous Mirogoj Cemetery in Zagreb. Virtually being an outdoor museum of secessionist architecture, it is a destination well worthy of your visit. Be aware that, due to large number of people coming to cemeteries, you may expect crowds. A special mass transit rules may also apply.
Learn more about Mirogoj here, and have a peaceful and fulfilling All Saints’ Day.