Pusta Noc (Pustô Noc in Kashubian) can mean both "Hollow Night" or "Empty Night." It is the name for a ceremony held at a deceased person's home on the night before his or her funeral: a sort of Kashubian wake. It was observed in Winona into the early 20th century, and is still observed in Kashubia to this day. Many such ceremonies were held to commemorate the death of Saint John Paul II.
On the evening before the funeral, participants gathered in the deceased person's so-called "living room," where he or she lay in state. All tables were covered with white cloths, and candles were lit. A crucifix was prominently displayed. If a prominent member of the community was about to be buried, there was an especially large gathering. Members of the community who did not attend the ritual were noted.
The ritual began with the saying of the Rosary, after which sick people and women with small children were allowed to return home. Afterward, a lead singer (usually a man, although women sang as well) led the mourners in singing Polish - though, oddly, not Kashubian - funeral hymns from hand-written songbooks which were shared among the community. Some of the funeral hymns were in Latin. In modern Poland, there is a semi-official songbook published by Father Jan Perszon. Sometimes the assembled sang as a group, and sometimes the funeral hymns were sung by impromptu choral groups. It was believed that those who sang at the ritual were praying twice for the deceased, and that they were also securing peace for the living. At times, the mourners participated in joint chants such as "Eternal Rest" and "Good Jesus and our Lord."
At midnight, the mourners took a break for coffee and dessert or a small meal, and then continued singing funeral hymns until dawn. About five in the morning, the "Hours" were sung. In some cases, the singing continued until the body of the deceased was removed to the church for the funeral Mass. The premise was that the soul of the deceased was lonely, and this ritual was intended to ease the deceased's loneliness. It was also intended to ease the sorrow of the assembled mourners and strengthen their bond with their Roman Catholic faith.