Alla helgons dag (All Saints’ Day) fell on 31st October this year. It’s a day when people visit cemetaries to lay candles on the graves of family and friends. US and UK style Halloween celebrations seem less common here. We’ve seen a few costumes and pumpkins in shop windows but there seems to be more focus on remembering the dead.
We planned to visit a big forest cemetary called Skogskyrkogården. Thousands of people usually do the same and with Covid-19 cases on the rise, the transport agency issued a crowding warning. We played it safe and visited a couple of smaller cemetaries instead.
Clusters of candles created small pockets of heat in the cold. Most of them were jarred; a few bare candles were wedged in the earth.
The UK doesn’t have a single day where everyone lays candles on graves, so this really was an experience. The tradition may sound like a morbid way to spend an evening but warm lights and flurries of people create a nice atmosphere. I found a video of Skogskyrkogården so you can see what it’s like — the video captures the mood far better than my photos.
We laid several candles with our friends, for their relatives. A quiet spot underneath a beautiful old tree. Next year we’ll take some candles for the people we knew. And probably a couple of extras for graves that have no candles at all.