in Slavic religion, all the dead ancestors of a family, the rites that are performed in their memory, and the day on which those rites are performed. Dziady take place three or four times a year; though the dates vary in different localities, dziady are generally celebrated in the winter before the beginning of Advent and in the spring on the Sunday of Doubting Thomas. A solemn funereal feast (pominki) is prepared and attended by the family; the dziady themselves are addressed and invited to join their kinsmen. The dziady, however, are not considered family guardians and are never asked for favours or protection

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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