Just like that, another Halloween has come and gone. Parents are folding away their children’s costumes, kids are munching on the candies they got the night before, and stores are already putting on Christmas music. But wait – we still didn’t celebrate Sweden’s “Halloween”!
In Sweden, one of the most famous autumn holidays is called All Saints’ Day. 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.
Although plenty of Swedes have adopted the American way of celebrating Halloween, the proper way of “celebrating” Alla Helgona Dag, is to visit 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.
The holiday is celebrated on the first Saturday of November, and this year, All Saint’s Day will be held on November 3rd. 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.
In addition to running Swedes in the States, Natalie is also on the Board of Directors for the Swedish American Chamber of Commerce, Chicago, and a Digital Strategy & Marketing Consultant.
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