Sweden: Alla Helgons Dag

boats2

They do not really celebrate Halloween here; it seems that the American idea of dressing up and Trick or Treating may have started making it to the cities, but it is not really a part of the culture. And they don’t want it in Tranemo! So last year they decided instead to celebrate All Saints Day as a day of remembrance bringing people from the community together.

What they did was to make some small wooden boats with a flammable material, often used to get fires going, attached to the top to create a candle. Then, shortly after nightfall, they gathered together at the lake in the town to put the boats, with their flames flickering brightly, out on the water and remember someone whom they had lost. Despite the rain they said it was a nice evening, so they planned to it as a bigger event the following year: this year.

 

So last month a group of local artists gathered in a workshop here to make more boats. We went along and helped with the sanding down of the wooden pieces and even took some away to paint before the day arrived. They sold the boats to those who would partake so that they could raise money for the charity Cancer Research.

When the time finally came we went down to the lake with two bags of painted boats between us. The atmosphere was very positive, with people of all ages, families, children and dogs all coming together in the dark. There were fires helping to bring light to dispel the darkness and also from which to light the boats before pushing them into the water, sending them off on their journey.

Now please watch the video and get a glimpse at the heart-warming experience of this evening.

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