Tuesday, November 1, 2011

"La Toussaint" (All Saints Day)

Although the French haven't traditionally celebrated Halloween the same way we have in the U.S., the French have; however, been celebrating the concept at the very heart of Halloween for centuries. From October 31st to November 2nd, the French celebrate "La Toussaint" (All Saints Day) which has traditionally been spent visiting cemeteries, honoring saints, and attending religious services. This holiday honors all the saints in the Roman Catholic tradition and includes the placing of flowers on the graves of family members who have passed.

Just a tidbit of French culture to share with you, the beautiful autumn flower, the Chrysanthemum, is the French symbol of All Saints' Day. Chrysanthemums fill the graveyards in France on this holiday. Keep this in mind if you ever give flowers to a French friend - Chrysanthemums are associated with the deceased.

Chrysanthemums placed on graves in observance of La Toussaint. 

La Toussaint is a reflective and somewhat somber holiday. Families typically come together to share a meal and spend time with those that they love and to remember those that are deceased.

Also keep in mind that La Toussaint is a major national holiday in France which means that most shops, restaurants and businesses are closed in observance of the holiday.

Au revoir, Mitty

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