Allhelgonadag 08/11/01





The West Church

The West Church (Mikaelikyrkan)


Lights to remember those who have died.  Ljus till minne av de döda lyste på kyrkogården.

Lights to remember those who have died. Ljus till minne av de döda lyste på kyrkogården.



All Saints’ Day

by Agneta Lilja, Södertörn University College

In AD 731, 1 November was designated a day of remembrance for saints of the church who had no days of their own. From the 11th century, 2 November was dedicated to all the dead, of whatever standing, and was called All Souls’ Day. It was widely observed by the populace, with requiems and bell-ringing, but was abolished with the arrival of the Reformation. In 1772, All Saints’ Day was moved to the first Sunday in November and in 1953 to the Saturday between 31 October and 6 November.

In olden days, graves were decorated at Christmastime, when small candle-lit Christmas trees were placed on the graves of young children. In the 20th century, however, people began putting lighted candles on the graves of the departed on All Saints’ Day. This custom originated with wealthy families in towns and cities. But after the Second World War, it spread throughout the country, beginning in the Stockholm region. Churches also began holding services of light to mark the day. (Betsey note: Arvika held a ceremony in the town centre)


Our family lit candles with Camilla, Anders and Leia at the animal cemetery and the West church.  Four beloved dogs of the Gustafson family are buried at the animal cemetery.  The West church was a stunning site.  It was dark, 5:30 pm and the 20 acres surrounding the old style church were surrounded by tens of thousands of lights.  The candles themselves are in jars, think canning jars with no lettering. Most had a metal top of some sort, perforated.  Candles and evergreen wreaths had been for sale all week in town.  We lit candles for my mother’s parents, Victor and Helen.  Following Halloween as it did, it felt a little eerie and otherworldly.  Dark, chilly, muted voices and warmly dressed memories.


One Response to “Allhelgonadag 08/11/01”

  1. Jocelyn Says:

    The photos are moving in themselves; I can only imagine what it felt like to be there.

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