Monday, November 2, 2009
Allerheiligen - all saints day
November 1st is Allerheiligen here in Germany (and possibly also on the rest of the more religious continent) in the UK it doesn't get a look in (we English are such a bunch of heathens ever since Henry VIII decided he could be head of the church and went around taking all the church lands and money).
Here in Germany the day is noted by trips to the cemetary to visit the dead (of course, and that'd be your own dead, not just 'the dead') to show that you've been you take a floral arrangement - a bit like leaving a visiting card in the Victorian days but these as you will see are a bit bigger than a piece of card and possibly a whole lot less tasteful, although I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder and someone must like these arrangements enough to think them up and enough to pay actual cash for them.
I have to say that this is the 3rd year I've been here for this 'event' and each year my German teacher (hi Muna) comments that dead day (as I personally call it) is due and then we have a conversation about how hässlich (see word for the day) the arrangements are and how her grandmother would be turning in her grave and trying to claw the revolting arrangements off her grave (Thriller style-ee) and how Muna plans to go along later in the week and remove all offending items and replace them with something her grandmother would appreciate (she wouldn't do this on the actual day because 1. the cemetary is heaving with relatives bearing gruesome offerings, 2. her other rellies might see and object to their offering being binned and 3. this year was a sunday & she'd rather sleep!
As I say, this is my 3rd year here for dead day but the first time I've made of point of walking through the cemetary (with dog) and then onto the woods and today I went just so that I could verify the ugliness of the 'floral' tributes left. Wow! I'm so glad I had my camera (ok iphone) with me!
The other funny thing about all saints day (to me anyway) is that Halloween is the day before, but maybe 'funny' isn't quite the word 'warped' may be better. But then again it is also known as 'all hallows day' but knowing that and that halloween is the contraction of 'all hallows eve' would you want to be going into the cemetary and leaving a revolting tribute on the grave of a loved one? I wouldn't.