Complementary Christmas


When I was a child, All Souls' Day was connected to sadness for me; sadness mingled with the beauty of the celebration: the lights of the candles on the graves with the first winter cold. Since then I have more people to remember and my feelings in connection with this celebration have become more complex.

This year not only the wreaths we put on the family graves were made from evergreen but also the bouquets had evergreen in them, and the votive candles were red, and when we had arranged everything on the graves of our dead family members, and the candles were burning, suddenly we had a Christmas feeling.

And if you think it over, remembering our dead ones is about love, similarly to Christmas (now forget about the commercial side of Christmas for a moment). At Christmas we spend time with our loved ones, and Christmas commemorates the birth of someone; and on All Souls' Day we remember those who cannot be with us anymore. Who cannot celebrate with us at Christmas.

Of course it makes us sad; people we love cannot be parts of our everyday lives anymore, at least not in the way they used to be. The sadness we feel shows that our dead ones were important for us and we miss them.

We wouldn't feel this sadness if we hadn't loved them, or perhaps better to say if we didn't love them. We do not mourn for someone we do not love, and we would not want to remember them now. It is said that love and grief are the two sides of the same coin; we mourn for someone we love when we lose them.

Now when we remember our dead ones, we do so because of our love. And our love is mingled with sadness because of our loss, and we are experiencing this during these days of remembering.