On this continent, everybody seems to have fun on this last day of October – Halloween. I don’t like it, so I just went for my regular Tai Chi class. For my woman, it is a sad day because her mother passed away exactly on this date ten years ago. The death anniversary of loved ones is never easy. Had we been there back home, this would be the day to visit the cemetery, to remember her life and contemplate about… whatever that moment brings into our mind. Being here, the wife rigorously keeps the Halloween customs: we buy tons of candies and goodies for the kids, lights go up and the door will be opened for all that knock or ring the bell. The reason for it being that when her Mom was visiting us in Canada and happened to be Halloween, she liked very much this North American thing – and her daughter keeps the tradition alive. That’s how she remembers her and celebrates Halloween in her memory.
Tomorrow, November 1st, in both our homelands is officially the All Saints Day (the Day of the Dead), however, we seldom mention it like that. It is the day of Lumination/Illumination. It is called like that because the custom is to visit the graves of the relatives, bring flowers – mainly “mums” (Chrysanthemum) – and to light candles on the graves. The whole cemetery is lit up on this evening.
Last year, on the evening of October 31, my wife was welcoming the kids alone: I was in my hometown with my mother in the hospital. Before I left I told her that next day, as it is the custom, I would go to light candles on my father’s grave instead of her, as she was doing it in the past twenty-one years. She nodded, I kissed her goodnight and left. That was the last time I talked to her. At dawn, the phone rang and then the doctor’s voice said: I am sorry… She passed away, just four days before her 88th birthday.
The “mums” on the left are growing in our little garden here in Canada. For all four parents of ours. We will light tomorrow four candles remembering them here. Charitable relatives will, hopefully, go and put a flower and a candle on those two graves over there – in Prijedor (Bosnia) and in Kolozsvár (Transylvania).
Horváth István 1926-1995
Danka Vukovojac (neé Tepavčević) 1927-2007
Horváth Ida (Neé Sălăjan) 1928-2016
Mišo Vukovojac 1930-2004