Wednesday, November 01, 2006



IT was challenging.

Walking home from work, was challenging.

Through my eyes, it was snowing on Halloween. Nobody else saw it like that. Don’t even joke about that… orange and black, candy-eating holiday around here.

“You know, it originated from the pagan holiday to celebrate the dead, just like Día de los Muertos in Latin America. Except in the States, we don’t like to talk about dead people, so we dress up in costumes and eat candy instead.” I tried to explain, but it didn’t come out sounding very noble.

“We don’t celebrate Halloween in Finland. Some stores have decorations out, but it’s not a Finnish holiday.”

“Don’t you guys celebrate All Saints Day in Finland? It’s related.”

“Oh yeah, when is that again, was it last Saturday?”

No! It’s this coming Saturday. And I want to go to the cemetery and light candles and celebrate dead people, like a genuine Finnish person! My image of Finnish people parading themselves to the cemetary and partaking in ceremonial procedures on All Saint’s Day... was false.

In my Finnish class today, my instructor spent about 20 minutes telling us about the midsummer festival that happens in June. It sounded like a lot of fun. There are bonfires and music and everybody’s happy, and energetic. Though I realized this holiday of which she speaks is in June. We are in November. Alas, June is a long way off. I’m worried I might forget these new keskikesän juhla vocabulary words by June. I raise my hand (not necessarily culturally acceptable in Finland, in general we don’t ask questions in class).

“Isn't there another holiday coming up on Saturday? What happens on that holiday?” I was thinking I could learn some new vocabulary words that I could actually use. And maybe if I tried to bring it up in Finnish instead of in English, people would tell that they do something exciting on All Saints Day.

My Finnish instructor thinks for a moment and starts to say no, sorry, we do not have a holiday on Saturday. But then she remembers about All Saint’s Day. “Oh yeah, that holiday. We don’t really do anything. I think the stores are closed.” And then she moved on to practicing the numbers, sort of irritated that I disrupted the flow of things. §

Today is the day after Halloween and we are covered in snow. Even though I only live about three blocks from the University, I got lost on my way home yesterday. I got pretty cold, but I figured out where I was before my ears froze (that really happened to my friend Eija). Everything looks completely different when it’s covered in snow. And it’s not just covered, there’s at least a foot of snow! On Halloween!

My cousin Abby, who was born shortly after I left for Finland decided to go with a lobster costume this Halloween. That's the spirit!

No matter what they say, HAPPY ALL SAINT’S DAY on Saturday!

§ We practiced the numbers in Finnish class by telling each other our age. I’m so old that my partner couldn’t count that high yet. I had to teach him how to say 30.

1 comment:

Laura G said...

Haha, 30. That's funny. I can't believe I'll be 31 in 2 months!