Saturday, 31 October 2009

No pumpkin pics

I grew up in Germany, mumble mumble years ago, and Halloween celebrations as we have them these days were totally unheard of then. Allerheiligen (Allsaints) on 1st Nov. and Allerseelen (Allsouls) on 2nd Nov., were very religious festivals, sombre affairs remembering the dead. The Florists started preparing weeks beforehand, making arrangements like these -

My grandmother used to work for the local florist and spent many hours in the basement of the shop making these wonderful arrangements, and I spend many happy hours helping her.

Then we would all go the graveyard, place our floral arrangements on the graves, light candles in coloured little pots like these -

and although it was a time for quiet contemplation, remembering our loved ones, very peaceful and quite serene in a way, it was also quite a social occasion, as one would of course meet many other family members. Even as a small child, I was not scared of going to the graveyard, it was somehow like going to church, with all those people and candles around, and it was quite beautiful really.
( All the above photos are courtesy of Google Images )

When I was thinking about what to post on Halloween, not having any halloweeny/pumpkin pics of my own, I remembered some photographs I had taken earlier this year at a craft fair. It was held in the gardens of a beautiful mansion

In order to get to the gardens to set up though, we had to go the back way, past the church you can see in the background and through the graveyard, and I was fascinated by the beautiful old gravestones.

I spent a few minutes after the fair taking some pictures, and today seems like a good opportunity to share them with you. They are not ghoulish in any way, I just love the beautiful designs on them, and the way the years, moss and lichen have softened them and created patterns of their own -

These two angels were facing each other on the gravestone. Weatherworn and timeworn, it was very hard to make them out, but I thought they were quite wonderful -

I only had few minutes, so unfortunately I didn't get a chance to go all round the church, or have a look inside. But this wonky little side door did catch my eye -

Enjoy whichever way you are going to spend this weekend! xx


Michela said...

Hi Liz, here it is the same as in Germany, a very religious weekend.
I love the pictures of the British graveyards, no walls,no concrete, the idea that souls are free.
Have a lovely weekend :)

Pomona said...

Much better than pumpkins - a lovely post!

Pomona x

Floss said...

Michela's right - British graveyards are remarkably special! We watched Autumnwatch (a bit naff) last night with the boys and the wildlife even in a central London graveyard was just wonderful. Thanks for the photos and history - I think I like All Saints/Toussaint a lot more than Halloweeen!

Sarah said...

My mother enjoys looking at such things too. She used to work with headstones - helping people decide what to put on them etc. They are very interesting and so sad sometimes too, especially when you see many children from the same family.

We don't really do halloween over here although it is starting to be more popular with the lolly hungry children. We went to an alternative light party last night at a church which was fun. Not so much junk eating either!

Hope you are having a good weekend and getting a few good bargains at some sale. See you xxx

marigold jam said...

I grew up in England humpty humpty years ago and we didn't have Hallowe'en as we have it now either! The trick or treat style Hallowe'en we now have came over from America in the 80's apparently. In France where we lived until recently they too visit their relatives in the cemetries and the towns are all decorated with crysanthemums too. Tip NEVER give crysanths to a French person as a gift as they are totally associated with death!

Love those gravestones - there is something so peaceful and tranquil about a graveyard in England that is totally lacking in a crematorium garden.