Michal Siewniak, of Welwyn Hatfield's Polish community, explains the November traditions that are celebrated in Poland.

Welwyn Hatfield Times: Michal SiewniakMichal Siewniak (Image: Courtesy of Michal Siewniak)

I have to admit that, in general, I am not very fond of November - the time change, the short days and the weather make us, at times, a bit miserable, however I am sure that my 'season description' doesn’t apply to everyone.

On the other hand, due to various national events, November is a month which gives us an opportunity to reflect.

We have Independence Day in Poland, which is always marked on November 11.

In the UK, we commemorate Remembrance Sunday. Both of these events help us to pause and remember those who died and sacrificed their lives for their country.

Then there is All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day, days which I personally hold in very high regard.

There are plenty of wonderful Polish traditions, which are really close to my heart and this is, maybe strangely, one of them.

In Poland, visiting graves, not only in November, is a long-established religious custom.

Both days give us the opportunity to stop for a moment, to give thanks for those who have passed away, and perhaps simply and humanly appreciate the presence of others in our lives (do we do it often enough?), despite the hustle and bustle of everyday life, in particular today when there is so much pain and suffering across our globe.

In Poland, the beginning of November is special: the cemeteries are beautifully decorated. It is important not to forget those to whom we owe so much.

Every candle, every candle, every tidying of the graves is an expression of our remembrance and our prayers.

I hope that these beautiful November traditions will be cultivated and will always remain part of our common identity and a deeply meaningful Eastern European tradition.

As a Polish National living in the UK, I am delighted that the Polish Saturday School in Welwyn Garden City will be celebrating our Independence Day on Saturday, November 11.

Our annual gathering is always well attended by members of the Polish community.

The school children and teachers sing, perform and read out poems; wearing white and red colours is a must! It is quite a poignant moment for our community.

As soon as we finish our 'Independence celebrations', we will be planning our Christmas Get Together and therefore the next two months look pretty busy for Poles in Welwyn Hatfield!