Halloween is trying to be a thing in Finland. Kids dress up at school. There are some odd parties here and there. But most of all the commercial sector is trying to push Halloween on us ruthlessly loading shops with pumpkins and spooky sweets.
Two days ago I heard someone ask their friend if anyone had come “trick or treating” and the whole sentence sounded completely wrong in Finnish: “Kävikö kukaan karkki ja keppostelemassa?”
I don’t even know anyone who would have ever gone trick or treating in Finland (except myself and my brother many many years ago when our neighbours had no clue what Halloween even was… It did not go as planned).
To people from North America this must sound terrible. No Halloween. And no Thanksgiving either. How do we ever get through October and November?
I don’t know.
Maybe we do need a bit of fun. A bit of mystical stuff perhaps. But does it have to be the commercial holiday with plastic pumpkins and a word Halloween in it? Finns used to have their own celebration around this time of the year. Kekri. It was suffocated because it was a pagan festival celebrating the god of harvest. It included cross dressing and masked people went from door to door demanding to get food.
Sounds a bit like Samhain, which was and still is celebrated in Ireland and Scotland. But Samhain was more mystical with witches and ghosts when as Kekri seems to have been a bit more about food and harvest.
Nevertheless, I’d be keen to make Kekri tradition gain popularity.