In Hungary Day of the Dead is a national holiday. Actually it’s a two day holiday, the first of November is All Saints Day, Mindszentek and the second is the Day of the Dead. Mindszentek is mostly a religious holiday, when catholics remember of the seraphic souls and they attend mass. It wasn’t an obligatory holiday until the year 2000. This day for non-catholics is a day to remember their dead.
The day after is the actual Day of the Dead, when the catholics remember to those who died but have yet to reach salvation. On this day we don’t go to work, instead it’s tradition to visit the cemetery where our loved ones were buried.
We light candles and bring flowers, the cemeteries stay open until late at night. I remember when I was a kid, all kinds of vendors were just out of the gates selling sweets. The air was chilly and smelled like cotton candy. On the ground and on the graves millions of candles shined like fairy lights dancing in the wind. So to me it was kind of magical.
It’s never been scary of any sorts. There were always so many people that I would often lose my parents, but we would always meet at the grave of my grandfather. This may sound eerie to some of you, but we can navigate through a cemetery pretty easy. We can find the graves we’re searching for without hesitation. I remember going with my grandmother all the time. I would wander around reading peoples tombstones imagining how their life might used to be. Who had they left behind.
While I was walking around my grandmother would tidy my grandfathers tombstone. She always brought new flowers and enjoyed spending time there. Maybe she felt it like she was spending time with grandpa again. I never knew my grandfather, but that is not the reason why I didn’t stay around to talk to him. It’s because I never thought he would spend his time around a field with all the motionless stones. He could have been anywhere and I chose to think that I can talk to him whenever I wanted to, regardless where I am.
Although it’s nice to have a day for remembrance you know you’re always with the ones you love in heart.