And just like that, Halloween is back again. Although plenty of Scandinavians have adopted the American way of celebrating Halloween, the holiday that inspired Halloween is called Alla Helgona Dag, All Saint’s Day.
In Scandinavia, All Saint’s Day is one of the most famous autumn holidays. Similar to the Mexican holiday Día de Muertos, it is a celebration of both Christian saints and family members who have departed. The holiday started hundreds of years ago as a way to honor saints who did not have a feast day, and after World War II, those who died were also honored.
In Sweden, Alla Helgona Dag is celebrated by visiting the cemetery and leave lighted candles on the graves of loved ones. They may even cook a special meal and enjoy it with family while reflecting on life, and the lives of passed loved ones.
The holiday is celebrated on the first Saturday of November. This year, All Saint’s Day falls on November 2. If you happen to be in Stockholm and have an extra hour or two, make the trek to Skogskyrkogården, one of the city’s most famous cemeteries, to see the thousands of candles on graveyards.
This article was originally published on October 31, 2018