Thursday, November 02, 2006

All Saints Day and All Souls Day

1 November is All Saints Day and 2 November is All Souls Day. However, only 1 November is public holiday.

In Nantes, I didn't see any festivals organised for the Halloween, so I think it's really something American. In France, people go to the cemetery to offer flowers to their deceased relatives. They usually offer chrysanthemums. This kind of flowers were originated from China, and it's offer to the dead during Qing Ming festival, when the Chinese go to the cemetery to pray their ancestors.

It's it a coincidence that in the French and Chinese cultures (I'm not sure about other cultures), chrysanthemums are offered to the dead? I remembered watching a movie, in which an American was trying to impress his Asian girlfriend, by offering her chrysanthemums during her birthday. Big mistake!

Why is there no photo on the grave? So one day when the grand grand children come visit their grand grand mother, they won't even know how she looked like. Chinese graves always have a photo about who is buried there. Also, in this cemetery, every small place is for a family, not only one person. While in Malaysia, for the Chinese, I usually see only husband and wife share the same grave, but not the whole family.

My professor told me that not everybody in France goes to the cemetery in all souls day. It depends on the family culture. It's true, my boyfriend has never been to his grandfather's grave even since his grandpa was dead 2 years ago.

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