Scary Pumpkins and Memorial Candles

Biking fast from the little hill of Kirseberg, going through a neighbour called Värnhem and then all way through Nobelvägen, then turning right passing by an almost completely built building hosting hundreds of brand new apartments, then crossing the road going left, you will find yourself on a relatively large street accompanied on both sides by two of the three parts of St. Pauli Kyrkogård (Graveyard of Saint Paul). Namely, the part on your left brings the name of ”St.Pauli Mellersta Kyrkogård”, as being the central part among the three of them.

The 4th of November the sky covering the industrial city of Malmö was made out of different shades of pink, grey and blue, with a giant Sun setting down on the side of the Öresund bridge, still shining red around four in the afternoon. Paving the way to an almost mystic mixture and feeling, the atmosphere just seemed to be perfectly fitting the celebration of All Saint’s day, which, after a hundred years of change, moved to be celebrated first on the 1st of November, then on the first Sunday of November, and latest, as it is now, on the Saturday between the 31st of October and the 6th of November. Giving to it more or less religious meaning, it was probably after the Reformation that the celebration started to symbolize the start of the winter in Sweden. To lit candles to be put upon what is called “Minneslund” – a term for memorial grove in Swedish – brings together people whom for different reasons decide to visit a dark cemetery in the evening of Allahelgonasdag. In this way, the dark times of the coming autumn and winter are met with hope, memories and light, and whoever wants to remember someone lost in the past or only follow this really Swedish tradition feels welcomed by strangers’ gazes, eyes, shadows, thoughts, breaths and silent talks.

Although this is my fourth year I am spending in Sweden, before yesterday I had never had the chance to experience this particular day of the year. Walking through the graveyard, we could almost distinguish between different country divisions of the graveyard depending on how the different tombs looked like. Those memorial stones bigger and sticking out more than the others – some even looking like small mausoleums – showing a coloured picture of the deceased ones, with all objects which were once close to them,

In Italy, as far as I know, graveyards are usually locked when it gets dark, and this tradition of visiting them on All Saints’ Day would not be as easily adopted as it is in fact in Sweden, where graveyards use to be open day and night out, and are involved into the inhabitants lives as they are shaped within the city’s net.

A day which sometimes risks to be recalled as only awakening sad feelings, is instead an excuse here in Sweden to get out and get involved in activities and be introduced to the warm feeling of winter, experience the closeness and unity among the city’s inhabitants and your friends, important to focus on something else than only days getting shorter. The entire weekend calendar is usually scheduled with concerts, among the others requiems, as the one I was listening to yesterday in the church of Saint. Johannes by the central neighbourhood of Triangeln. When passing by Sweden during this weekend I warmly recommend to overcome your fear for darkness or scary graveyards and find one of the many “minneslunden” and get together with some locals. You may be surprised and maybe may end up into a magic and silent, and probably scary, place immersed in a forest, accompanied by children trying to scary each other when still feeling that last breath of the Halloween festivity.

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