All Saints' Day traditions
While Americans are preparing their costumes and Jack-o-lanterns for Halloween, Swedes are more likely planning a day off from work, eating together and gathering candles in anticipation of “Allhelgonahelgen” (All Saints’ weekend).
Although Halloween is now a secular observance, it shares religious origins with All Saints’ Day traditions: In 731 AD, Nov. 1 became the day to remember saints of the church, eventually recognizing Nov. 2 as a day dedicated to remember all the dead — All Souls’ Day. In Sweden during the 1900s, people began putting lighted candles on the graves of loved ones on All Saints’ Day, and now the entire weekend is a time of reflection and remembrance, with cemeteries full of light from candles and lanterns placed on graves, sometimes in the snow, sometimes under a full moon. Halloween as a celebration never really took off in Sweden: No, Halloween never got established as the big holiday most...

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