Today is All Saints Day, and in Sweden that means that you go to the cemetery and put candles on the graves and remember the people that you’ve lost. It’s not a very religious ceremony. Swedes aren’t on the whole, very religious, and particularly not about a deeply Catholic tradition that survive despite all the odds in this most Lutheran of countries.
Auntie, by way of Mum, suggested that me and Mark join her as she went to the cemetery where my sister and my maternal grandfather is buried over in Sussex. So, off we went early in the morning, and we came back just an hour ago.
Even as an atheist, I don’t really object to remembering the dead, because like with my Sister the dead cast shadows into the lives of the living. As long as some preacher does not try to intrude and try to make it about god and angels and saints, I can participate, and remember sis. I don’t remember my gramps much though.
Technically, for a Swede, this day is not celebrated until the first Saturday of November. So Sweden lights the candles next weekend. But here in the UK they celebrate it on November 1st. Since Anglicans celebrate saints and all, it seemed a proper thing to dilute it with a heathen marking from the land of the Lutherans. So, we put a few candles on each grave.
It is a bit strange though to have to deny that I’m off to a party on this day, because so few celebrate the day, and think that I’m off to celebrate Halloween. But that’s a mostly, still, American thing. Some of my friends do have Halloween parties, and there are the odd person that comes to the door to trick and treat.
That said, here in this country, people don’t expect that yet. So, they’re always surprised when some apparition dressed in an outlandish costume lands on their doorstep to demand candy. People don’t go and buy it for this day, and our neighbour shouted at some kids that poured things into his mailbox when he didn’t have any treats at home.
It was a ruckus; someone shouting in the streets at ten in the morning. The shutters and curtains fluttered all along the street because of it, I bet.