Thursday, 6 November 2008

Halloween & All Saints Day

It is not that often that Halloween and the Swedish All Saints Day Eve fall on the same day, but this year they did. In previous years I have been one of the many people amused by children trick-or-treating on the Friday or even Saturday night. They are out no matter what the date, as opposed to the 31st, as is the tradition in North America - which is after all where the custom originated. This year it wasn't the customs that merged, it was the dates and everyone was out together, which by the way was not too many.

I prepared our neighbors again by running around with stuff beforehand, some remembered from last year. They love it. It is lots of fun to see the kids dressed up and the excitement that lights up their faces.

I think I love Halloween & All Saints (Allhelgon) because they brighten up an otherwise grey and drab time of year. And while Ty and I might have our discussions about their best use, it brings focus to what is in season (pumpkins!).

My appreciation of the seasons grows with each year that passes. Not because I grew up without them as some might say - because we do have seasons in Australia, especially in Melbourne. But because they passed unnoticed in my childhood. Australians do not celebrate seasons the way they are celebrated here, they are just complained about and avoided, if at all possible.

Halloween and All Saints have long traditions and fulfill important functions - even if the hype leads us to believe they are just a commercial venture. Try walking around Skogskyrkogården on November 1st, it takes you back to the roots of the Swedish tradition. One member left our Halloween party on Saturday to join his family. People gather to put candles on the graves of their loved ones, to remember, to show respect.

I'll let Shane tell you more about the Allhelgon tradition. It is an enchanting place to be as darkness nestles in, the temperature drops and the grave candles flicker with rememberance.


  1. Hej hej! Off topic - I noticed that you linked to my blog a little while ago and it was nice to discover yours. Maybe we can fika next time I'm in Stockholm! Best wishes, Megan Case

  2. Absolutely - drop me a line when you are going to be here.

  3. Hi Nic

    It was truly magical and I think a great way to remember loved ones. I was amazed at how busy it was, seemed like most of Stockholm was there.

    Unfortunately my camera isnt too good and couldnt really capture the ambience.

    Maybe when my Swedish is better I will take a photography course as there are so many beautiful things to take photos of here.

    Its one of the pluses of living in a new country, all the cultures that are new! Personally I love semla day!

  4. What an awesome Blog Find ... hehe ... and it has been a fun morning of reading and catching up on your posts. It is weird ... I have been in Stockholm for two years and I never heard of heading out the the graveyard on Halloween! Maybe I am just a little removed? Too bad it was such horrible weather this Halloween ... next year for sure ... really want to experience it!

    Keep up the fantastic posting ... and good luck with that entrepreneurial spirit.

  5. hi - and thanks!! glad you've enjoyed my posts.