Halloween and All Saints Day (and some fashion notes too)

By the beginning of November the weather gods seem to have decided that they really had to stop now the summer weather. This decision resulted in a week with weather that was already "more appropriate" to the fall although the temperatures were still quite moderate. No need for thick coats and scarfs yet. But an embralla could already be used and some gusts of wind now and then started to blow down the many leaves on all the trees.

So time to start wearing massively my boots again, as most woman were already doing so. Is boots also such a huge fasion in North America? Here it is like you can only wear boots anymore, no more shoes.... last week I bought my second pair of boots so I can alternate. I have my old but still classy black leather tight boots with high heals and now I added a pair of brown daim boots also with a small heal. And the beginning of the nineties are back : tight jeans again in Europe ( haha now I get a flash back of comments I got in PCSS in Creston during my exchange " oh my god, how did you get into those jeans" ...." poor girl, she wears pants that don't fit her anymore..." . Well figure it out, at that time Canadian teenagers were already wearing baggy trousers, they actually cut open their jeans to add a flowery stroke of textile in it to make them more baggy. The contrast with my European fashion could not have been bigger!). So anyway 10 % of the woman outside are already walking around with pale very tight jeans tucked away in big boots. 3 weeks in London I noticed it first and I thought it would take another while before we adopted it too but it was one of the first things I saw when I came back :). Well one of my friends has a clothing store and she already told me two years ago that the designers were already trying to launch the tight jeans again. So I knew it was coming. haven't bought one yet though, I am more thrilled about the abolute popularity of the skirt that has been going on for a couple of years now and that is still growing. On one of my friends birthday party recently I noticed that all girls were wearing a skirt!

hmm I titled this note Halloween and All Saints Day so I guess I am getting off track here. I hope you don't mind that I just am typing away a little bit.

I often get the question whether we celebrate Halloween in Belgium. 10 years ago during my exchange my answer was no.. In the mean time it is already quite visible in our media and streets and stores as well. It started (familiar from all the American tv shows and movies that we also watch) as pumkin decorations in stores and some students having theme parties etc.... But it's becoming more popular quite rapidly and I am not that surprised anymore to see some spider webs as decoration in pubs or stores or something. The big shopping center, shopping streets and theme parks now have Halloween days where there is scary animation and the children can get candy.
Trick or treating is not common yet though. Last year I heard the comments of some confused colleagues who all of a sudden had a coupld of kids at their door and they didn't quite know what to do. Last sunday 4 kids advantured the same thing, but at first they weren't even dressed up. Sorry, but ringing the doorbell and asking whether they can get candy sounds more like begging to me. If you copy another culture's habits, make sure you do it right. Somehow they figured that out because half an hour later I walked by again and then they had a cape and a wig on. Still the old lady that opened the door was a bit confused.

The advantage of celebrating Halloween is that it is always happening in a vacation. All Belgium schools always close that week. Not because of Halloween but because of All Saints day which is celebrated on the first of November and which is a Bank Holiday in Belgium . That is an old Catholic religious feast to remember and celebrate the saints. It used to be in the spring apparently but in the Early Middle Ages it was moved to the fall in order to replace an old pagan feast to celebrate the fall (as most Christian feasts like Christmas and Easter all somehow linked to older pagan feasts anyway) ( would we have had some type of pagan halloween ??). On the 2nd of November it's All Souls Day. That is not a bank holiday. We can't have it all huh.

On All Saints Day we have the tradition to go to the cimatories to visit the graves of our relatives and friends and to bring flowers to the grave. All my life I've been driving around on the 1st of November or in the weekend before and after to go to the graves of my grandparents, my sister and brother, my aunt etc... The tradition is fading away with young people although still quite strong for the +50. Still more than half of the Belgian population goes to the cimatories that day. Maybe the young people of now don't want to be interested in the dead but maybe they will pick it up again once they've had the experience of losing parents or loved ones and having to take care of a grave. I hope so, because it's a tradition that I think is valuable. I often hear the comment : " I don't need a fixed day to go to the cimatory, it's artificial, I can remember x at home as well, ..." . But I know myself: we all live such rushed lives and good intentions often never happen. And being at the grave is still different to me.

If the weather is ok, the cimetories are also sooo beautiful: one big sea of flowers and people walking around with flowers. I often also had the impression that it was a kind of reunion trip for my parents when going back to their birth villages and visiting my grandparents graves. Always the met old school friends, other far relatives etc... Quite boring as a little girl to wait patiently until they stopped talking to all these strangers!!

This year I couldn't go yet since I was working exceptionally on this holiday.


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