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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween and All Saints' Day

Halloween is not the same deal here in Sweden as is it in America. It has imported some of the stuff, mostly the scary and ghoulish stuff and most Swedes think of Halloween as a season as opposed to a day, so Halloween decorations and parties will continue to happen beyond today. I find it annoying as Halloween is not my favorite thing. I'm all for the dressing up, the fun parties and the trick or treating. But Halloween has been corrupted to do harm to children in so many ways that it's just hard to get excited about that. And it's interesting, when it's not swirling around you in every store, the tendency is just to simply forget about it.
I will say however that I do miss being able to see children in their costumes. I would love to have some sweet ones stop by tonight and ask for a piece of candy. I love dressing up in costumes and think it's a really fun part of the tradition.
Here in Sweden, the tradition of this weekend is actually to acknowledge All Saints' Day, which is tomorrow, November 1. Halloween is actually All Saints' Eve and the connections to the dead are how many of the bizarre and scary Halloween activities got started in the first place. But here in Sweden, people use today to reflect upon loved ones who have passed on. They go the cemetery and leave candles and wreaths and remember. By late afternoon it is quite beautiful as dusk sets in and candles flicker across the yards. I myself have never been one to visit the cemetery on this day and since I'm not feeling so hot and since we have an event at church later, it is unlikely that today will be my day to do so.
So today I am enjoying the posts of my friends' children on Facebook in their costumes, chuckling at how much candy they will haul in tonight, wondering if they are like me, who hoarded my candy and parceled it out over several weeks, or more like my brother, who pretty much ate it all as soon as he could and then tried to steal more from me! And I'm also thinking about those who died in the past year and what a significant day of grief and remembering this is for the many who lost beloved friends and family in the past year.