Monday, 31 October 2016

All Hallows' Eve

Where I come from, there are no carved pumpkins or trick-or-treating on the 31st October. Instead, we get ready for All Saints' Day, the 1st November, which happens to be a bank holiday: we buy bunches of chrysanthemums and multi-packs of grave lanterns. Then, on the 1st November, we visit the graves of our loved ones to leave the flowers and lanterns, think about those who are no longer with us and maybe say a prayer for their souls. Most people do that in the morning, hoping to avoid the biggest crowds and packed car parks, but I like to go after dark. The thousands of lit candles and lanterns give a truly magical, if slightly spooky, effect. If anyone has candles to spare, they put them on the most neglected graves nobody visits, so that every soul has at least one candle burning for it. It's all very beautiful, in a sad way...

Where I live now, the tradition is very different, and I don't have any family graves to visit here if I wanted to. I do like Halloween; I enjoy all the horror films on TV, I like the dressed-up kids touring the neighbourhood, and I absolutely love all the pumpkins. We carved our Jack-o-Lantern last night! Still, I can't help but think of all my loved ones who have passed away. Cherish all the good memories, let go of the bad ones, if any. This memento mori is a good opportunity to slow down and think about the most important things in life. I like the reflective nature of All Saints Day. And I do like that Halloween is a less serious counterweight to it. I feel very lucky to be able to experience both.


  1. Hello, I've enjoyed reading back through your blog. I haven't kept mine up for a few years, but enjoyed it for awhile. Your photos are great! I love everything "Scotland" and hope to visit in the future. My ancestry is mostly Scottish from the Colquhouns, McDonalds, Stewarts, and a few more! I took love gardening. This year we had amazing tomatoes, and a ton of zennias. Next year my raised beds should bed in, and our new green house will help. I am a retired nurse, not old enought, just tired of nursing..... so I spend my days quietly sewing, gardening, making quilts with my 4 cats (2 kittens).
    I look forward to seeing more of your beautiful photos.

    1. Hello and welcome to my blog :-) Scotland is a great place to live; I work in tourism and we often have clients from the USA coming to Scotland to discover their roots... I love the sound of your garden; I don't have a greenhouse but am going to try and grow a couple of tomato plants next year regardless. This experiment is likely to fail, but I won't know until I try!