All Souls Day

A few weeks before November 1st I noticed much more activity in the flower market next to theDolic fruit and vegetable market.

Someone told me about the activities that would take place in celebration of All Souls Day. A colleague said that she would be busy getting ready for the event by going to clean the gravesite and make trips to the flower market and yet another trip to get candles and then back to the cemetery to decorate graves and remember lost family members and friends.

Here in Zagreb just about everyone goes to Mirogj Cemetery. It is a museum of sculptures and acres of graves and mausoleums for those who have passed from this world.

Being there reminded me of a time when I was in Bologna, Italy and spent Easter in the cemetery. But for some reason this felt more solemn. It also reminded me that as a child in Catholic grade school All Saints Day was a day off from school after an evening of running around the neighborhood on Halloween gathering sugar from neighbors by ‘trick or treating’. When I was quite young I never really understood what we should do by way of ‘tricks’ if someone did not ‘treat’ us. 

It was quite a site walking around the cemetery seeing the beautiful graves…

…and all the people paying homage to those who have passed.

As this was a national event of course the media was in force covering it.

As the sunset a beautiful moon arrived and the landscape came alive.

For those who have departed, many who walked in this cemetery on All Souls Day, they would be happy to see so many pausing and celebrating in sorrow for their loved ones.

In America we used to go out the night before Halloween, called ‘Devils Night’, and soap cars and toss toilet paper and raw eggs all over someone’s house we had a grudge against. I remember that on our block lived a police office and we stole his pumpkin and smashed it all over the street and ran away. Later that same evening he caught up to us and knew we did it but could not prove it; even after looking under our fingernails for shards of pumpkin. We were quite devilish, but just pulling prinks. With all the things we did I was impressed that we got away with so much. I also recall standing up on a terrace and pitching eggs on passing cars. One guy stopped and got out of the car and started yelling. For us, because of the distance, he invited us to sharpen our tossing skills and of course my toss landed directly on his shinny baldhead. (I never was much good or interested in sports but for some strange reason when I was doing something like this my aim was always perfect!)