All Souls’ Day – also known as the Day of the Dead (Halottak napja) in Hungary -, is a day of prayer and remembrance for the faithful departed, observed annually on 2 November.
In the Catholic church, faithful departed refers to baptized Catholics, and „all souls” commemorates those who died but have not yet received salvation, and who are currently in purgatory.
These days, it is still customary to tidy graves, decorate them, and light candles in memory of the dead. According to folklore, the dead visit home on this day, so it is customary in many places to lay a table for them, putting bread, salt, and water on the table. On the night between All Saints’ Day (November 1) and All Souls’ Day, it is a popular belief that the dead say mass in the church.
For many people in Hungary, All Souls’ Day has become a general commemoration of the deceased, independent from religion.
All Saints’ Day is a public holiday in Hungary, while All Souls’ Day is a working day. People, therefore, tend to visit cemeteries on the days before.
Due to All Saints’ Day and Day of the Dead, the cemeteries of the capital are open from Thursday to Wednesday next week from 7.30 a.m. to 8.00 p.m. From 3 November, the normal opening hours will be back, i.e. from 7.30 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.
The police pay special attention to the prevention of crimes and traffic accidents that could endanger the peace and quiet of the commemoration.
“It is our duty to remember our heroes, and it is also a tribute to our history because it is thanks to them that we are still here today,” Defense Minister Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky wrote on Facebook. He asked Hungarians to visit a war memorial or a war grave in addition to the resting places of their loved ones.
Featured photo via MTI/Bruzák Noémi; photos in the article via MTI/Komka Péter