It’s 0:46 at night. Cold night between 31st October and 1st of November is witnessing a return of souls of those who passed away and today, all cold and hungry wander around searching for a way to their former homes.
Old Slavic custom is not to be afraid of them, but help them find their homes so they can spend this special night with their families. As it is difficult today to burn the fires along a road, my fiance and I took our old lantern wit candles and walked along the path leading from the village to the fields. Again and again I could hear rustling and crackling coming out of the thickets on both sides of the dirt road. Souls? Ancestors looking for their old homes? Who knows, I’m sure a few of these sounds belonged to a cmall black creature that gracefuly pierced the darkness and began to rub against our legs 🙂
Before Christianity appeared on our lands, this was the way we looked after our acestors souls.. At night, the family met either on the graves of the dead, or in their homes and feasted together with their souls. During the feast food was being dropped all over the table or onto the floor so everyone, living and dead could eat. And if a spoon fell onto the floor, when lifting it off the ground one had to put a piece of bread instead as it was obvious it hadn’t fell itself. That was a visitor from beyond marking his presence
Great attention was also paid to not harming any Soul during their presence here, in our earth world. And so it was not allowed to pour water through the window not to wet any Soul by accident, or burn a fire, as some of them might want to get inside through the chimney. Spinners and weavers also needed to set their work aside – a sould might get caught in the spun thread and thus get stuck in this world. Similarly, when weaving, it could be trapped between woven threads. Luckily, I was able to finish spinning my hemp before Dziady came so during this time my newly spun skein was drying up after cooking.
I am wondering right now whether there were wandering sould on the path we walked along with our light. Maybe one, two or more of them passed us, smiled at us or even warmed a bit by the candles I hold in my hands? Maybe some of them helped themselves with the warm milk or sat by candlelight I left for the night on the threshold?
These were not any luxuries they used to see in the pre-christian times , yet I believe that warm milk must have tasted like ambrosia during that cold November night! See you nocturnal guests at the next Dziady! See You on May 2nd!