Wednesday, 31 October 2007

All Hallows' Eve

Poland is a country which is stubbornly resistant to cultural Americanization. How refreshing, says the girl who has celebrated Thanksgiving for the past five-ish years in a row. OK, initially it was due to dating Americans and subsequently it just seemed like a good idea- who can argue with a holiday that revolves largely around cooking, eating and slobbing out in front of the television?

Around this time of year back home, I'd merrily be donning my apron and blending the pumpkin pie filling (read 'taking it out of the can'), not to mention smearing on the vampy rouge-noir lipstick and hoisting up the characteristic pair of goth-style fishnets*.

I'll have candy and consumerism please!

In any case, I assumed that All Saints' Day was a picturesque Catholic holiday, unrelated to spooks and ghouls and the like. Wrong! Late this afternoon my boss's girlfriend (who is Polish) came into the office to chivvy him along.
- Are you going to any cemetery? she asked. I replied that I would maybe go to Rakowicki tomorrow**.
- You could even go tonight. Actually, it's tonight that the ghosts come.


- Of course. But don't worry. You just have to feed them. You can get special sweets, like this:
And she proffered a cellophane cone of nougat-style confectionery.

Now, naturally, my flatmates have gone back to their families for the long weekend, leaving me All Alone in the flat on what I have just discovered is the scariest night of the year after all.
I have All The Lights On and Eska Rock as loudly as possible on the radio (although right now they're playing some kind of pensive folk-type songs. Which are Not Helping).

I am trying to ignore the occasional clicks that the fridge has taken to making, and seriously having trouble not jumping out of my skin every time I get an alert from MSN messenger.

If only I'd remembered to buy the sweets...

*It's possible I actually do own a garment meeting this description. St Andrews is a bit small for clubbing so we had to find other ways to entertain ourselves (I mean Fancy Dress Parties- get your minds out of the gutter).
**I already know the Rakowicki Cemetery fairly well because I ended up there once after getting the wrong bus home from the language school. Actually, I took several buses to get there- not one of them turned out to be the right one to take me back to Starowiślna.


PRQ said...

But at least all the scary movies on TV are in Polish, thus significantly less scary than they might otherwise be.

pinolona said...

ah- I don't have TV since my old flatmates moved out. Must Do Something about that.

Plus when you're understanding about a third of what's going on and making up the other two thirds there's plenty of scope for a hyper-active imagination to run away with itself...

Anna said...

Hello Travels without my spaniel,
You're up on Guardian Abroad, at, and already have a couple of nice reviews. Any questions, email me at

Anonymous said...

Hey missy - I love your blog so much, I'm glad that you made it through the scariest night of the year in one piece!

We miss you back in Blighty
Pip xx