Driven by new solidarity, Poles have been buying armloads of chrysanthemums to help out flower vendors who unexpectedly faced bankruptcy when the government ordered all cemeteries locked due to COVID-19 during a traditional memorial weekend.
The first day of November - All Saints’ Day - and the day after are among key holidays in this predominantly Catholic nation, when tens of millions of Poles visit the graves of their loved ones. They always bring bunches or pots of chrysanthemums and memorial candles that they buy around the cemetery entrances before carrying them through the throng.
After the government’s last-minute announcement Friday that cemeteries were closing at midnight through Monday, city authorities across the nation opened up downtown areas for flower vendors to trade and salvage their livelihoods. Many came to buy the flowers even though they couldn’t take them to the family graves. Some left them by the closed cemetery gates.