Lithuania is celebrating the All Saints Day on Saturday, which will be followed by the unique Lithuanian tradition to mark the Day of Souls (Velines) on Nov. 2.
While the All Saints Day is a common solemnity celebrated in many countries of Western Christianity, the Day of Souls on Nov. 2 partakes special Lithuanian features, such as rituals honoring the souls of their dead ancestors or relatives.
The two days are quiet and peaceful celebrations and have nothing in common with Halloween, celebrated in many other parts of the world.
The Day of Souls involves visiting the graves of one's relatives and lighting candles there, including additional candles of the uncared graves. The picture in any cemetery in Lithuania is breath taking these days, with almost all graves enlightened by candles.
Traditionally it was believed that souls of the dead return to visit their homes this day, therefore, it was usual to leave a place and a special meal at the table for them. Eating in silence is usual for the Day of Souls.
Nowadays, both the All Saints Day and the Day of Souls have merged with each other, and Lithuanians tend to visit the graves on Nov. 1, since this is an official day off in the country. Due to increased traffic, the local authorities change routes and schedules of public transport on Nov. 1 and 2.