All Saints’ Day

Traditionally Halloween is not celebrated in Finland but in the past years it has been making an entrance. Costumes can be found in various stores and instead of Trick or Treating, some choose to host Halloween parties with their friends. Yesterday was All Saints’ day. We stopped at the cemetary before visiting friends. The photos were taken a bit before six o’clock in the evening and it was already completely dark. The cloud coverage added to the darkness. Last year we spent the evening at home with our own family and enjoyed tea bread after the visit to the cemetary.

While Halloween is all about ghosts and ghouls and all things scary, the atmosphere of the cemetary on All Saints’ Day is peaceful, calm and safe. The cemetary was full of people and as I was there the bells rang calling people to service. In Finland the cemetaries are usually cared for by loved ones as well as the church gardener. It often is in the center of town next to the church. The Valkeala Church in the photo below has been built in the early 1900’s and taken into use in 1927. It is not a very old church and in its current place there have been three previous churches with the first one being in the late 1600s. The first church became too small and was torn down to allow for a larger church. The next two churches were burned down with only the altar painting being saved.
cemetary
The cemetary was a sea of candles in memory of the loved ones that have gone before us. There is usually a place to place your candle if your loved ones are buried somewhere far away.

jerusalmen artichoke soup

I don’t think that the day is intended to be downcast, but it is full of emotion. I thought this soup was perfect for the day, not something too elaborate but something a bit special with a gentle flavor.

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

350 g/12.3 oz Jerusalem artichoke, peeled and cut into cubes
1 onion, finely chopped
1 parsnip (about 100 g /3.5 oz) peeled and chopped
500-600 g/17-21 oz floury potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
olive oil
5 dl/ 2 c broth ( I used broth that had Spanish NOMU flavoring in it, which includes: paprika, chilli, oregano, cumin, basil and saffron)
fresh rosemary
freshly ground black pepper
fine sea salt
250 g/ 8.8 oz marscapone cheese
2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
water

jerusalem artichokes2

Place the peeled and cut vegetables in a pot and sautée with the oil for a few minutes until the onions have become a bit transparent. Add the sprig of fresh rosemary, seasoning, broth and water and so that all of the vegetables are covered evenly. I usually have broth in the freezer ready to go. Whenever I make a roast in the Crock Pot I set aside some of the broth and freeze it for later use. Be careful to not over season so that the mild flavor of the Jerusalem artichoke is not completely covered up.

parsnip

Allow to simmer until the potatoes have become tender adding more water as needed. Take off heat, remove rosemary and purée with an immersion mixer until smooth. Return to the stove and add the white balsamic vinegar, more water or broth (if it is too thick for you) and marscapone cheese. Stir and allow to simmer until the cheese has been incorporated into the soup. Check the flavor and adjust with seasoning to your taste. Enjoy with fresh crusty bread.

valkeala church and cemetary

This post is a part of Tablescaper’s Seasonal Sundays. For an abundance of links to seasonal inpiration, check out her website.

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25 Comments

  1. This is a lovely celebration and I remember your post from last year which was as lovely as this one. I like that your soup has a sprig of rosemary on it; rosemary for remembrance. At our church on All Saints’ Sunday we are given a sprig of rosemary to hold in remembrance of loved ones who have died during the past year.

    1. Yes, it is touching. All through the winter many visit the cemetary and replace the old candles with new ones so that it often twinkles as you drive by in the dark. Oil candles that burn for about 3-4 days are often used.

    1. I became acquainted with Jerusalem artichoke about a year ago and love their mild flavor. They taste wonderful roasted in the oven as “chips” with a little drizzle of oil and seasoning.

  2. Your post reminded me of my home country. Halloween is also a new fangled thing in the Philippines. We celebrate All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day instead. During those days, we visit our dearly departed in the cemeteries, light candles, and attend the Mass in the cemetery chapel. Some relatives go a little overboard and hold all night parties in the cemetery (though this practice is discouraged by the Priest).

    1. How interesting to learn about your home country. In all cultures there are days and ways to remember those that have passed before us and there is often some similarities in the traditions. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Gosh I wish I’d seen this post last weekend. I was at the farmers market last Saturday and, being it was the last one until next May, one vendor was practically giving Jerusalem artichokes away. Never having cooked with them before, I walked past. Big mistake. Your soup, with the parsnips, sounds wonderful. I’m pinning it because the farmers market isn’t the only place that I can buy these artichokes. 😉

    1. Good thing there are Jerusalem artichokes available at the grocery store. Even though they might not be as fresh as the ones from the farmers market, I’m sure they will do! 🙂 Hope you get a chance to try them out!

  4. In Norway we have the same tradition for All Saints’ Day. Not for Halloween, but now we have got the commercial version of the latter. I hope to try your soup because I have Jerusalem artichoke in my garden for the first time.

  5. I love your last photograph!
    We don’t celebrate Halloween in South Africa either but for the past few years all the stores have loads of Trick or Treat goodies. very clever marketing I say.
    Have a lovely day.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  6. halloween has crept up on us in Australia and now kids are starting to trick or treat – just seems odd to go asking for lollies (candy) to me. I much prefer the traditions of all saints day with the veil between this world and the next being the thinnest – love your photos of the cemetary – quite different from ours because the most celebrations are in the summer when it is light – we go to one that is well cared for and to see the thoughtful touches by families makes the dead seem still among us.

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