Friday, October 31, 2008

Have a HORRIBLY Good Halloween!

Finns don't really 'do' Halloween... (sadly for me) The witches all come out at Easter instead - that was quite something to get used to originally!

However, its way too cold right now, with all the snow - to be out trick or treating! That said, there is generally snow around at Easter too.. but at least it is lighter then! :D

So, this year.. no pumpkin. There werent any in my local Valintatalo store this year. Last year they had them - just not this year. Fiddlesticks! Or should that be Broomsticks?!! Oh well, I still have plenty of Pumpkin in the freezer, for Pumpkin Pie and Pumpkin cookies. I know Ive had it there a long time.. but its still fine! We love those foods in this house! I will have to make do with the e-Pumpkin on this blog instead! :D

As you can see below, the Finns DO make reference to it.. here in a Kmarket supermarket leaflet it wishes Hirveän Hyvää Halloweenia! (Have a horribly good Halloween! as my blog title says) but such reference is limited and Finns in general fight the urge to have Halloween parties! I remember one friend of mine telling me that she 'once' had some children call to 'trick or treat' and she was incensed. She told them to go away and come back at Easter - the proper time to do it! They must have thought SHE was the Witch! LOL... poor kids!

For the Witch or Pagan communities the serious time of Hallowe'en brings Samhain on November 1st, one of the eight annual festivals (Sabbats) during the Wheel of the year. Samhain is the celebration of death and of the dead - of paying respects to those who have passed on, be they ancestors, learned elders, friends, pets etc - indeed these same spirits may well be 'invited to attend' in celebrations.

It marks one of the two great doorways of the year - the two seasons - of the light and of the dark. Samhain, being diametrically positioned to that of Beltane at Spring, May 1st, when fertility, life and light is celebrated. During the dark months that follow Samhain, there comes time for us to look back at the old and make way for the new with a joyful heart. That’s what this time of year represents. The death of the old, so that when Spring comes again, it has a fresh start. Autumn falls it's leaves..with the season of death and subsequent renewal.

The eve of November 1st, (the night of October 31st), is a most magical, potent time - known today to most people of course, as Halloween - when the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest.

November 1st in Finland though, is Pyhäinpäivää (Holy Day/All Saint's Day/Day of the Dead). At least it is that date this year! As it can fall anywhere between the 31st October to the 6th November - dependant upon WHEN the Saturday falls, as its always a Saturday. Its also a public holiday - so all the shops are shut!

Many, many Saints days used to be celebrated annually in Finland, but apparently, over time, the Lutheran church ended most of the individual Saints days, all but the "All Holy Men's Day" remained. (Maybe there were too many holidays and no work got done!!)

So on the 1st, from the afternoon onwards - or at least after darkness falls, many Finns will take trips up to nearby graves, and leave a candle or flowers in memory of the dead there. At home, Finns can also light a candle in memory of someone close that has passed on.

Its a truly beautiful view in the cemetery - all aglow with thousands of candles. I've tried many times to capture it with my camera - and tomorrow will be no exception. If I get a decent photo or even a semi decent photo - I will share it with you! These two images, I found on google.

Around the world Halloween is held as a bit of fun - yet should truly be preserved with reverence and honour....whether you are Pagan or not... time to be thankful of the past and the present (the good and the bad) and to remember those who have passed on in spirit.

Love to all....