The graveyard on Christmas Eve

The graveyard on Christmas Eve

It's tradition in Finland to visit the cemetery on Christmas Eve and leave candles at the gravesites of your friends and family. We went to the cemetery near our neighborhood this year and walked around to take in the tradition.

This cemetery has a monument to the fallen of the Winter War, a subset of what I would call World War II. (WW2 is so confusing in Finland - it was a series of separate wars with shifting alliances.) The monument was guarded by two men and there was some kind of eternal flame there. Then, to the side, there was a wall with the names and birth/death dates of people from this area who died in the war. It stretched around the corner and up the cemetery hill, which was very sobering.

It's an odd activity to visit a graveyard on Christmas Eve, at least to an outsider, but it's growing on me. It's quiet and contemplative and the sight of candles stretching off into the distance is strangely evocative of the season.

Arrival

Arrival

December 23rd, outsourced