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Cemetery candles are big business in Finland

May 10, 2006
In Finland it is a tradition to place candles at the graves of those who have passed on. In fact there is a whole candle industry based on just that – candles for cemeteries. Candles are placed at graves at various times of the year, for example: the person’s birthday, the day he/she died, Christmas Eve (Every year we do the "graveyard rally" up in Savo, where my in-laws live and drive for about three hours!), Independence Day (December 6 in Finland), Veteran’s Day (correction: April 27 in Finland) and All Saint’s Day (first weekend of November)… and of course whenever one feels like respecting the memory of the deceased.
 
One can buy candles that burn for 20, 40 and 60 hours. But who produces these candles? An email to the folks at Finn-Korkki in Hämeenlinna answered my question. Finn-Korkki manufactures the metal covers for graveyard candles (among other things…  see them on the net at http://www.teho.net/finnkorkki/mainpage.html).
  • Suomen Kerta, Havin kynttiläteollisuus in Riihimäki produces candles for outdoor use. They’re on the web at http://www.suomenkerta.fi/, but their pages are only in Finnish.
  • Kynttilä Tuote in Halikko is also involved in manufacturing cemetery candles, but they seem to be out of the loop – no pages on the web.
  • Finnmari (http://www.finnmari.fi) in Lahti also produces cemetery candles and even lists them on their website. They make all kinds of candles – so whatever you’re looking for in a candle, they just might have it: http://www.finnmari.fi/english/tuotteet.html.
You can buy cemetery candles almost anywhere in Finland. I have seen them in grocery stores, discount stores (for example Tarjoustalo), gas stations, department stores and factory outlets.
 
You might think a lot of waste is produced because of this, but fear not – plenty spent candles are gathered and the remains are recycled.
 
My father-in-law once asked me if we did such a thing in Canada. While I cannot speak for all Canadians, I am sure there are many Canadians who partake in such traditions; but in my family I can say we have not done this. However, during my last visit to Canada, I brought a couple of candles home to place at the final resting places of my grandfathers who both passed away a short time ago. This intrigued the Kiviaho side of the family who had never heard of such a tradition. They were very pleased the Mr. and I had thought of doing this… My grandmother’s first question was: (and I KNEW she would ask me this) "Will it burn down the bush?"… After reassuring her, ("No Gram, it won’t burn down the bush.") she was all for it. I suspect they will want the Mr. and I to include a candle for my grandpa in our Christmas mailing this year…
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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Diana permalink
    May 11, 2006 1:27 pm

    i think it’s a lovely tradition – mom does it on Christmas Eve up north in Sudbury

  2. Unknown permalink
    May 16, 2006 11:53 pm

    The song i associate you with is Both sides now, by Joni Mitchel.  When I listen to this song I see how unassuming the author is about herself and how wise she gets with age.  she is like a good wine she gets better with age.  When she admits to not knowing anything, it jusy tells us how much she does know.
     
    I hope you like it.
     
    Mystic

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