The Memorial site on All Saints' Day November 5th 2011 Sweden
This holiday is rather recent in Sweden. The people in Sweden wanted a holiday honoring the memory of departed friends and relatives. The popular demand grew steadily through the course of the first half of the 20th century. Two world wars and increased contact with Catholic cultures was probably a part of the growing wish to celebrate loved and departed ones. As a result, for the first time in modern Swedish history a holiday was reinstated in the Swedish calendar in 1952.
All Saints' Day in Sweden is a national holiday that always falls on a Saturday between October 31st and November 6th. It is celebrated with light in the dark November night. There are so many candles that it’s hard to imagine the number.
We usually have dinner by our selves or together with the extended family. After a nice meal we are ready to go to the cemetery. When we get there the first thing that strikes you is the beautiful light all over the place. Now we can see the soft and glistening golden light from all the candles that are lit on graves and at the memorial field
We start with my paternal grandparent’s grave, talk quietly amongst us. Then we slowly walk to my husbands paternal grandparent’s grave, we can see that their son has been there before us as it is already a candle there. After that we have to walk across the cemetery because I always light a candle for my girls on their paternal grandmother’s grave. The last stop is the memorial field and the sculpture where we put the candles for those whose ashes have been spread there. This is the most beautiful place in the whole cemetery. Lots and lots of people there but so quiet and calm. One can hear the whispers flying in the air, as we all talk with a whisper or very low voices.
We often stand there for a while just to reflect on all the beauty, sadness and above all the hope and light we see around us.
The picture above is a sculpture in the middle of the memorial field. All the candles reflect in the shining surface and it’s so beautiful.
I’m enclosing a link to this movie from Skogskyrkogården in Stockholm – The Woodland Cemetery. The cemetery is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The video is made by Christopher Bennison. Here’s the link http://vimeo.com/groups/eos7d/videos/16709231 don’t miss this, it is so beautiful and it has the feeling I have tried to describe. Play in full screen mode and turn your speakers on.