Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Pyhäinpäivää ( Holy Day/All Saint's Day/Day of the Dead )

On Saturday we went to the two cemeteries in Sodankylä.. the one for the human community that is set around the Old and the New Church (see July Blog) and the one for pets.

As mentioned in my last blog, Saturday was Pyhäinpäivää or Holy Day/All Saint's Day/Day of the Dead.

It's the main day of the year when folk that are passed over are remembered and a candle is either lit for them at home, or placed on their grave.

In town, we visited the grave of one of Jake's late friends, Matti, who died a couple of years ago, aged just 13 years old. He was a lovely lad, really cute and was instrumental in Jake intergrating into the local community as well and as quickly as he did. Matti was Jake's best friend and he is sorely missed. He died from a very rare form of skin cancer.

We placed an angel candle there on which I had written in Finnish, Jake and family remember...

After we visited his grave, I tried to take a few photographs of the cemetery for you to see just how many candles there were and the beauty of it. Still, they all fall short of the real view.. very hard in such darkness!

I then wandered up further into the cemetery, which I haven't really done before, but I found it interesting looking at all the graves, the various types, the names etc. Sooooo many unpronouncable names for me! My son, Jake found one that sounded like Looly Laulee Lylaa....or something like that. A pretty name, but a real tongue twister as so many Finnish names can be to non Finns. Lovely to see so many remembered.

In Finland, as you can see..most headstones are black not white. I guess that has something to do with visibility in the snow.. I don't know for certain.. but in the UK, it's more the norm for a gravestone to be white. There were also a lot of family plots, which was nice to see.. really wide graves. Not so many angelic statues/headstones like there are in the older UK cemeteries though.

Finally, I found one place where many memory candles were left en masse. I have yet to find out what that was for.. but it was signposted Muistoristi which means Memorial Cross, so I am presuming it relates to those fallen in or through war.

Then we travelled back towards and then past our home, up to the pet cemetery, which is tucked in the middle of nowhere, a really quiet place.

The new shelter over the newly dug graves, (ready for any burials that are required through the white months) was up and in place. Quite a few orbs appeared in this image as you can see.. quite a cluster! :D I like to think it is my furry friends coming to say hello!

This is situated very close to our pets grave as you can see in the photo.

We laid our candle there too - on which I had written our pets names; Arnie, Smokie and George, we thought our thoughts and then made our way home.

R.I.P. sweetly...