parade of life

Paula Jardine


Honouring Old Traditions / Creating New Ones

A Night for All Souls at Mountain View Cemetery is an artist led, accessible, inter-generational, culturally diverse, non-denominational sacred event. It is an opportunity for people to share their own customs and experiences, and reinforces our relationship to natural cycles. It
takes place on the Saturday before Hallowe’en, in order to coincide with a time of year that for many cultures is traditional for honouring the dead, but without being too specific to one individual culture.

Begun in 2005, it grew out of years of collaborating with Marina Szijarto, (masque of the red death, parade of lost souls) and our own personal need to honour our ancestors and remember our dead.

link to photo albums/credits and captions

“On All Saint’s Day in the autumn the cemeteries are little cities of golden light, a candle flickering the night through beside each grave.”
Poland; Funeral Customs the World Over, Habenstein & Lamers, Bulfin, 1960

In many cultures around the world, the days at the end of October and beginning of November are considered an important time for honouring the dead in our lives, through ceremony and celebration, and the practical maintenance of the family gravesites. Customs include cleaning and decorating graves, feasts, flowers, lanterns, and candles.

In our modern, urban, and relatively transient culture, traditional “village” customs have been left behind, though not the human impulses that led to these traditions.

Our experience of observing the public use of an artist’s representation of a shrine to honour the dead made it clear that there was a need for a community and public expression of individual grief.
All Souls at the Mountain View Cemetery is a non-denominational sacred event, and an opportunity for people to share their own customs and experiences.

The project has been part of the revival of the role of this urban cemetery in the life of an increasingly secular and multi-cultural community.

Paula Jardine | Marina Szijarto