Christmas crosses

Icelanders have a tradition at Christmas time of putting lighted crosses on the graves of their loved ones.

I find this such a strange custom, I cannot seem to get my head around it.

Tonight I was driving with a colleague from Sweden through Keflavik, and he just about had a heart attack when he saw the lit up graveyard. We stopped to take a picture. He has never seen or heard of anything like it.

We then had a scholarly discussion about Icelanders and their obsession with the dead. He is an archaeologist that specializes a lot in funeral rituals, and thinks somewhere along the way, Icelandic culture stopped providing the sense of closure needed to let the living get on with their lives. It has resulted, it seems, in lit up Christmas crosses.

Comments

William said…
The Swiss light the graves of their loved ones also. Not sure if it's just around the holidays or not.
Lissy said…
Well, lighting a candle on the deceased birthday or anniversary of their death is one thing, but here is a picture of what I mean by electric Christmas crosses. http://www.vf.is/Frettir/46738/default.aspx
William said…
well...if it saves their souls, it could be a good thing! On the other hand, the departed might have been so "pissy" in life that their living relatives felt they may need a little help beyond the dark curtain.

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