Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Very Very Un-Scarey Halloween

Halloween came and went here without much excitement at all.  Our practice was cancelled that night, so I went to the gym to workout and on my way back home I spotted one trick-or-treater who, from what I could gather, was being asked by a kind old lady to wait on the sidewalk while she searched in her house for a piece of candy.  I just kept riding, laughing to myself a little, imagining her dumping out her purse on her kitchen table, turning wool sweater pockets inside out, eventually getting out a flashlight, and finding a year old candy bar in her basement.  Poor kid.

The remaining bike ride home from the gym also produced one haunted house sighting.  A neighbor decorated inside and out for what looked like a Halloween party with a mostly invisible attendance (but that could've just been my mind playing tricks on me).  Haha!  All in all, it was a most uneventful evening: no costumes, no gunshots, no stabbings, no drunk adults roaming the streets in ripped stockings, no zombies, no screaming until 3am, no sirens...  Why is this list making me miss home???  :)

With Halloween grossly overlooked, I thought November would come equally quietly, but I was wrong.  Overnight, the cemetery around the corner from where I live turned into a botanical garden of chrysanthemums.  It was a Halloween miracle!  I wish I could've taken before and after photos because it was such a beautiful thing to see almost every grave come to life with bright autumn hues - magenta, pink, yellow, orange, and purple - leaving this previously gray and gloomy plot of land just bursting with color.

After asking around and a little googling, I found out that in France Friday, November 1st is All Saints Day (Toussaint) and Saturday, November 2nd is the Day of the Dead (Jour des Morts).  These holidays are marked by the distinct ritual of honoring the graves of deceased family members.  Apparently on this day more than 22 million chrysanthemums (94% of total annual sales) are sold in France alone.  What a beautiful tradition!

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