Since the earliest of times, the Polish people have honored the dead in celebrations and special ceremonies. Ancestors are honored highly for their guidance and wisdom, and at these times they are invited to rejoin those who still walked in human form. Feasting at burial grounds was seen as a form of spending time with those long-gone and honoring them. It included leaving food, often bread and honey, on their graves as gifts for their souls and the lighting of candels.
An important element of the tradition of Dziady are Karaboshka masks. Such a mask, made of clay or wood, was worn to impersonate the deceased during the custom of leading spirits back to the afterworld. Interestingly, some scholars argue that the ancient Karaboshka is actually the original inspiration for the now common jack-o’-lantern.
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