Christmas Gift in Honor of Deceased

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latenight
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Dec 12, 2013 9:04 pm

Christmas Gift in Honor of Deceased

Post by latenight » Thu Dec 12, 2013 9:11 pm

Hello all.

I stumbled across this forum googling a question. I hope you all may be of help.

I live in the USA, and my grandmother was Finnish. She lived here for most of her adult life and raised my mother here.

She passed away a few months ago, and it has taken a big toll on my family.

For Christmas, I would like to buy/do something in honor of my grandmother and give to my mother. My mother is pretty Americanized, but really appreciates Finnish traditions (we had a Finnish church manage the funeral, and she was very touched by Finnish prayers - without understanding).

I was wondering if there is any form of tradition often done to memorialize Finns who have passed away. To be honest, I cannot think of an exact American example, but just thought I'd pose the question and see if there is anything practiced in Finland. I was thinking of framing a portrait of my grandmother to keep in our living room. Is there anything more "Suomi" I could do? If not, any Finnish phrase/poem/saying that might be nice to engrave on a picture frame?

I am sorry I cannot be more specific on what I am looking for, but if anything comes to mind, please let me know.

Thanks.



Christmas Gift in Honor of Deceased

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Upphew
Posts: 10159
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2008 10:55 pm
Location: Lappeenranta

Re: Christmas Gift in Honor of Deceased

Post by Upphew » Fri Dec 13, 2013 10:42 am

latenight wrote:Hello all.

I stumbled across this forum googling a question. I hope you all may be of help.

I live in the USA, and my grandmother was Finnish. She lived here for most of her adult life and raised my mother here.

She passed away a few months ago, and it has taken a big toll on my family.

For Christmas, I would like to buy/do something in honor of my grandmother and give to my mother. My mother is pretty Americanized, but really appreciates Finnish traditions (we had a Finnish church manage the funeral, and she was very touched by Finnish prayers - without understanding).

I was wondering if there is any form of tradition often done to memorialize Finns who have passed away. To be honest, I cannot think of an exact American example, but just thought I'd pose the question and see if there is anything practiced in Finland. I was thinking of framing a portrait of my grandmother to keep in our living room. Is there anything more "Suomi" I could do? If not, any Finnish phrase/poem/saying that might be nice to engrave on a picture frame?

I am sorry I cannot be more specific on what I am looking for, but if anything comes to mind, please let me know.

Thanks.
Hmm. I can't remember that any of my relatives would have pictures of deceased hanging around. My parents take my granny to visit the graves, including grandfather's, and light candles on them. Google image search "joulu hautausmaa".
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CH
Posts: 869
Joined: Fri Nov 11, 2005 10:13 am
Location: Espoo

Re: Christmas Gift in Honor of Deceased

Post by CH » Fri Dec 13, 2013 4:46 pm

My condolences about your grandmother!

Cannot think of anything, either, other than visiting the grave on Christmas Eve and lighting a grave candle and putting it in front of the stone.

Usually the graves are decorated for the winter with spruce branches and an evergreen flower like heather. Or a wreath (usually bought), inside which the candle can be put. (The wreaths that have lots of flowers are funeral wreaths, but the ones that are mainly spruce and/or lichen with some minor decorations on.)

Oh... and... when visiting the grave, at least for my family the protocol is to clean away snow right in front of the grave, remove any old stuff (flowers that don't look so good anymore, old candles), put any new stuff we brought (flowers, spruce branches) in front of the grave, light the candle (or light it a "!#!#!¤ many times before it finally takes off... usually it's quite windy), stand a bit back from the grave in silence for awhile with slightly bowed heads... and walk away. Oh, and check out the graves nearby of deceased friends and family and check out if their family members have visited and kept the graves up... um... I mean... pay our respects there, too.


latenight
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Dec 12, 2013 9:04 pm

Re: Christmas Gift in Honor of Deceased

Post by latenight » Fri Dec 13, 2013 6:26 pm

Thanks for the condolences and information. Unfortunately the cemetery isn't close. It would have been nice to go there on Christmas Eve...

Again, thank you for the time to think about it.


Jukka Aho
Posts: 5238
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2007 1:46 am
Location: Espoo, Finland

Re: Christmas Gift in Honor of Deceased

Post by Jukka Aho » Sat Dec 14, 2013 2:07 am

Upphew wrote:Hmm. I can't remember that any of my relatives would have pictures of deceased hanging around.
My Grandma keeps a framed picture of Grandpa on top of a cabinet in her living room. She usually lights two candles next to the frame (one on each side) on certain dates.

I’m not sure what those dates are, exactly, but if I had to wager a guess, probably at least the anniversary of their wedding, Grandpa’s birthday (and possibly also the day he passed away), Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and All Saints’ Day[1].

_____
[1] All Saints’ Day is known in Finland as pyhäinpäivä or vainajien muistopäivä. It is traditionally observed in the same solemn way as in Sweden: “In the Lutheran churches, such as the Church of Sweden, [All Saints’ Day] assumes a role of general commemoration of the dead. In the Swedish calendar, the observance takes place on the Saturday between 31 October and 6 November.
znark


CH
Posts: 869
Joined: Fri Nov 11, 2005 10:13 am
Location: Espoo

Re: Christmas Gift in Honor of Deceased

Post by CH » Sat Dec 14, 2013 10:56 am

Ah, true... lighting a candle would be the way to commemorate a deceased person at home. Mostly the only time people do it nowadays is lighting two candles in the windows on Independence day, though.

But... how about some Finnish Christmas traditions or decorations in honor of your grandmother? We celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve, so a small Finnish Christmas dinner on the eve? I was trying to think of Finnish Christmas decorations... one would be Tuomaanristi. Or a CD of Finnish Christmas music? Or perhaps your grandmother had some traditions or something Finnish that she liked, that you could carry on?


Jukka Aho
Posts: 5238
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2007 1:46 am
Location: Espoo, Finland

Re: Christmas Gift in Honor of Deceased

Post by Jukka Aho » Tue Dec 17, 2013 6:29 am

latenight wrote:For Christmas, I would like to buy/do something in honor of my grandmother and give to my mother. My mother is pretty Americanized, but really appreciates Finnish traditions (we had a Finnish church manage the funeral, and she was very touched by Finnish prayers - without understanding).
A simple idea which has no particular relation to Finland or Finnish customs but which the recipient might appreciate anyway:

Maybe you could scan in some old photos from the family albums — or prints or negatives stuffed away and forgotten in the back of some drawer — and compile a hardcover photographic picture book of your grandmother and her life using one of those online photo printing services?

Even better if you can get your hands on some very old photos your grandmother likely used to own of herself as a young woman or girl...
znark


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