Halloween is a relatively new phenomenon here in Sweden. I’m told that certain groups (retailers, bars and media-savvy kids, mostly) have been *trying* to drum up interest in the celebration for the last five or six years, but in my opinion they’ve still got a LONG way to go. And part of the problem as I see it, is that Halloween in Sweden is an adult-driven holiday rather than a kid-driven holiday like it is in the U.S.
Of course, adopting any kind of tradition from another country always takes a bit of time, especially when there is a vocal portion of the population that feels the Sweden is already unduly influenced by American culture. But Halloween enthusiasts here have already taken steps to “make it their own” by attaching it to the Swedish version of All Saints Day (Allhelgonadagen)…which, like most other holidays that fall on specific dates, they tend to move to the most convenient nearby weekend so they can party.
So while the rest of the world marked All Saints Day last Tuesday, Swedes moved it to the following Saturday and then celebrated it with a partial day off the Friday before, presumably because the “Eve” of a holiday is better suited for the aforementioned party and subsequent hang-over. (Nevermind that the rest of the world does not tend to see the Christian church’s official day for remembering the dead as an occasion to drink, dance and be merry.)
So that means that today, Saturday, Nov. 5, was “Halloween”. Confused yet? Believe me, so is everybody else. Which is why a number of my friends have reported trick-or-treaters turning up at the door practically every night of the past week.
Hang on a sec…maybe Sweden’s Halloween is kid-driven after all! ;^D