Monday, October 27, 2008

Halloween in Sweden: "Bus eller godis!"

"Be a moose." A costume suggestion from a Swedish friend of mine upon telling him that I was going to my first Scandinavian Halloween party last October. When I asked him what he was going to dress up as, he told me Halloween would be a quiet night in. Little did I know that Halloween is a relatively new holiday in Sweden.

Swedes began taking part in Halloween festivities (parties, dressing up in costume) in the 1990's. Halloween in Sweden can be celebrated from the eve of October 31st up until Alla Helgons Dag (All Saints Day), which happens to fall on the day after Halloween this year (the first Saturday of November). Trick or treating for Swedish children, "bus eller godis!," is just starting to catch on.

Alla Helgons Day is observed as a national holiday, a day to pay respects to loved ones who have passed away, a day of reflection and remembrance. Many Swedes light candles at family gravesites, leaving behind flowers or a wreath.

(photo: jack-o-lantern from Sweden, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

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