is the blog on the list that follows this one. It is the blog of Alison who is originally from the USA and is now living in The Netherlands (Holland)
or Chrysanthemum day (as I like to call it)
Of course, All Saints Day happens in the UK but it is not really of much note there. In Belgium the first of November is a public holiday and is the time when people remember their loved ones, family and friends that have departed this mortal realm. In the run up to the day people visit cemeteries on mass clean, polish and generally spruce up the graves of those whom are no longer with us and leave potted Chrysanthemums on or near their graves.
For those that have recently lost loved ones this can be an important part of the grieving process but for others it is a chance to remember a person who is gone. The atmosphere around the cemeteries is surprisingly up beat, in the period running up to the day, people bump into and chat with others that they have not seen for a while and the whole feel is that of a community event. whilst I visited cemeteries, to take photographs, a few people asked what I was doing, when I told them all where very approving of my motives and some shared stories of the persons whose graves they where tending. All in all it seems to bring back to life the memories of those who are now gone. The cemeteries are very busy at this time of year.
These plants are everywhere at this time of year. Local authorities replace the annual bedding schemes with them, people have them outside of their doors and garden walls and of coarse many shops have great colourful displays of what they have for sale. Literally millions of Chrysanthemums are sold in Belgium at this time of year, there are many plant nurseries that produce large amounts of these and some produce nothing else and their entire production is dedicated to this event.
You will find the same level of care and chrysanthemums will be left. It is strange how something that you would think may be a somber occasion, can create such a feeling of community and have such an up beat feel. I think this is symbolized by the normally grey and sober cemeteries turning into a riot of colour. It is a time to celebrate and remember the lives of the departed, not a time to weep.