Toussaint, All Saints Day falls on November 1 the day after Halloween, I'm surprised the French don't have a cake or pastry for Toussaint, as they do for many other saints' days, the Mexicans make pastries and skulls out of sugar. The next day, November 2, is known as day of the dead, a time to remember those no longer with us. I think it is a wonderful idea to have a special day for the dead.
The Montparnasse cemetery near me is awash with chrysanthemums, the flower preferred by the French for cemeteries. They are colourful and durable, plus they add colour as the leaves fall
Every cemetery in Paris has celebrities and among those resting in Montparnasse are; the novelist Guy Maupassant, the poet Charles Baudelaire, the artists Man Ray and Brancusi, and the writers Samuel Beckett and Jean-Paul Sartre with Simone de Beauvoir. The pop icon Serge Gainsborough is here too, but the grave I always visit is that of the actor Philippe Noiret, you'll remember him as the projectionist in Cinema Paradiso.
As I ambled through the cemetery today, I saw old and young paying their respects to the dead. In one of the narrow alleys that separate the tombs I happened across a man seated on a grave quietly weeping, his loss still raw.
We live in a culture that denies death, the only certainty of life. Visiting a cemetery can be a positive affirmation of life and an important reminder not to a waste a minute of it.