Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Before you roll your eyes and stop reading. I thought I’d tell you about how Halloween has changed in the little part of France I live in the past 20 years or so. When the children were small the big dressing up and asking for treats day was Mardi Gras. There would be knocks at the door all day if it fell in the school holidays.

Then Halloween started up and little by little grew and took over from Mardi Gras. We even organised a big Halloween party for the children in the village, with prizes for the best costumes. When I was an English assistant in Primary and secondary schools it provided and excellent lesson in Anglo Saxon culture, followed a few days later by the story of Guy Falkes

Now both Mardi Gras and Halloween seem to have been forgotten by the children for some reason. Despite half hearted attempts to sell costumes, wigs and masks in some of the shops.

November 1st is All Saints Day and is a holiday in France. Traditionally people visit the graves of their loved ones and leave chrysanthemums. It’s a good moment for a family get together. It’s lovely going shopping at this time of the year, the shops are full of pots of Chrysanthemums.

What do you do in your country?


Caroline said...

Plastic tat from supermarkets!

We used to get "Guisers" who would tell jokes or sing and expect a cash reward and they used to be well rehearsed and in home made costumes but not now, they are rubbish or if you are lucky they don't turn up.

Caroline xxx

Lucy Melford said...

Yes, dropping Hallowe'en would be no loss.

I like the sound of All Saints Day though.


Debbie K said...

Personally I will be doing the same as you are in France as its a day I will be paying my respects to a very special Loved one.
Debbie x

Anna said...

Always take in the tree the day before Christmas eve, decorating it while watching Beatrix potter's dancing animals. A tradition since I was little. Now a days they don't air it on TV but I manged to get it on DVD.
I start decoration to the first of advent, which is big here in Sweden.
Then the advents-star and advent candles go up and all Christmas decoration. I don't put up that much because I hate taking them down! Mardi gras seems like so much fun, I would love to experiences it in New Orleans.

Anji said...

Caroline: At least you got some entertainment for your money.

Lucy: They were taking the flowers inside this evening when we visited one of the shops. They smelt gorgeous.

Debbie: Nice to see you again. It's also a day of celebration of the lives of lost ones.

Anna: We keep the same traditions as we had when the children were small. I hate taking down the decorations too, it's a sad time

Anonymous said...

Halloween is still celebrated in a big way here in Canada. The schools arrange field trips for the young ones - visit wide pumpkin fields. Some houses and small businesses go all the way with their decorations - front yards look like cemetaries - the half dead moan in their caskets - skelletons and anything scarry you can think of. Small and big spidermen, pumpkins, magicians, witches, princesses, pirats and you name it go from house to house and collect sweets that last them till next Halloween. The grown ups have great parties.

Veronica said...

I prefer to think of the day as Samhain. :)

Caroline said...

It is certainly the end of the harvest here with the last handful of blackberries and one of runner beans this week from the garden and a basket of walnuts which fall into the roadway just a hundred yards away. A few leeks and beetroot and the garden will be finished for the season, always a sad moment, not one to celebrate.

Caroline xxx

Veronica said...

@Caroline: We celebrate the end of a year and the beginning of a new one. All points on the wheel are to be celebrated, because they are all necessary: life, death, and life again.

Serge said...

I think it would help if both kids and adults would celebrate Halloween together so that both generations could have a great time!