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Posted by calcalino - Created: 16 years ago
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4 replies (Showing replies: 1 to 4)

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Posted by Ellen7-187820 - 16 years ago

November the second is "all souls" (defunts) so it is the day that Christians (catholics?) remember their dead. Traditionally, you should put flowers on your family graves on the 2nd and in churches the mass is dedicated to the dead. But since the first is a holiday, most people go back to the family home then and so they put the flowers on the graves on the first instead of the second.

Any flowers are suitable but there’s not a lot of scope at the beginning of November.


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Posted by Mike V-188564 - 16 years ago

Not all French people associate the Chrysanthemum with death, but it is better to be on the safe side.The flower was originally chosen back in 1919 when the first memorials to the dead of the 1914-1918 war were dedicated on the 11th November. The Chrysanthemum was just about the only flower available at that time of year and had the bonus that it would withstand the cold reasonably well even when cut.Also, being imported from Japan, it was suitably expensive to be used to honour the dead.The adoption of its use for Toussaint was easy as there is only ten days separation of the two events.As for the 'Anglo-Saxon' celebration of "All Saints Eve" the origin of this is lost in the dim and distant past. The current frivolities appear to have been re-imported from the US of A.There was no sign of anything happening in France on 31st. October about ten or so years ago. Probably came in with Ronald McDonald.

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Posted by calcalino - 16 years ago

thanks for explanation - i'll never buy chrysanthemums for french people now

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Posted by flumpleprincess - 16 years ago

La Toussaint is "all saints day" also a celebration of christian hope faced with death. Traditionally the french go to lay chrysanthemes on graves the day after la toussaint - and it happens to be chrysanthemes because they are the last autumn flower! that's my understanding of it although i dont know how pumpkins got involved and it's all horribly commercialised now like most fetes...
flumple :-)