Welcome to my neighbourhood, or to the small cemetery very close to where we live. I took these photos yesterday when I took a stroll with my son, not knowing that I wasn't allowed to take them. There were a few people in the cemetery with cameras so I was rather surprised when this guy approached me and said I wasn't allowed to take photos. I find that rather strange, I thought cemeteries were public areas. It wasn't like I was photographing the actual graves (the ones with the Belgian flags are those of soldiers who fought in the WWI and WWII); I was simply capturing the beauty, especially the flowers.
The cemetery looks beautiful right before All Saints' Day, which is an official holiday in Belgium. Last year I noticed that at the end of October there were people selling flowers outside the cemetery and many people were bringing flowers to the graves and cleaning them. I had no idea what was going on so I simply asked a friendly woman who told me that it was a tradition in Belgium to bring flowers to the graves of dead relatives on this day.
To tell you the truth, before moving here I had heard about All Saints' Day but I didn't really know what it was about (Roman Catholics are only about 3% of the Icelandic population). So this is for those who are as ignorant as I was:
"All Saints' Day is a celebration of all Christian saints, particularly those who have no special feast days of their own, in many Roman Catholic, Anglican and Protestant churches. In many western churches it is annually held November 1 and in many eastern churches it is celebrated on the first Sunday after Pentecost. It is also known as All Hallows Tide, All-Hallomas, or All Hallows' Day." (source)
When I was photographing Jesus on the Cross my son asked me: "Is this the spot where they crucified him?" I told him that had happened much further south. Then he added: "The kindergarten teacher said that they used either nails or screws, I don't remember which." Then we had a philosophical talk about Jesus and other religions and I told him that many people didn't believe the story of the Crucifixion. The little guy said straightforwardly: "It happened." And then we just kept on walking.
Have a beautiful day!
photo credit: Lisa Hjalt