05 November 2011

Bonfire night, Finnish style

It's been quite a test of my history knowledge, explaining Bonfire Night (and why we don't have it in Finland) to the six-year-old. You can't exactly rely on the old historian's excuse of "that's not my period". Between me and Orb, we managed to get the story about right, with the correct monarch (James I) and century (17th, just).

Today, we managed to have our own bonfire in the middle of Lykynlampi, the lake area where we often go for a walk. It was quite a cold, grey day as you can see (probably a couple of degrees above zero), and it started to snow a little as we walked round.

Orb built us a small fire (there's a shack full of firewood for you to use), and we had a Moomin-style picnic. Not sure we've ever picnic-ed with snow starting to fall before...

Instead of fireworks, we went to the ice hall this evening, to watch an ice hockey game. Joensuu Jokipojat were playing Sapko, a team from Savonlinna. Sadly, Joensuu lost 5-3, but it was great fun to watch. Neither team showed much mercy in terms of shoving the opposition into the sides of the rink! The small girl thought this was hilarious...

Last of all, we paid a visit to Joensuu cemetery, as it's All Saints Day here in Finland. It's celebrated by placing candles on the graves of family members - and the graveyard was a sea of lights. Every grave had a candle or lantern, with the lines of lights stretching as far as you could see into the darkness. The war memorial was especially moving, as it was surrounded by a low wall of flickering lights.

We've lit a candle, and put it outside our house in memory of Grandpa.

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