On Monday night America celebrated Halloween with all the ghosts and goblins and kids running from house to house filling their bags with
goodies but the root of Halloween comes from the Catholic holiday called All Saints Day or Día de los Muertos, (Day of the Dead) which is celebrated in many Catholic countries on November 1st. All Saints Day is the day people pay homage to all the saints and those who have died and gone to heaven. It is believed the souls of one’s family return on that day to join in on the Day of the Dead
celebrations that are held in the cemetery.
So you guessed it, I spent most of my day today visiting the local cemeteries to experience All Saints Day Peruvian style. As the motocarro dropped me off at the cemetery I wasn’t sure if I was visiting a cemetery or a party, snow cones, popcorn and flower vendors everywhere.
I started at the old cemetery where the dearly departed were in crypts that were in a large walls, 20 feet high and 100 feet long stuffed with bodies. People whose loved ones were buried high on the wall had to stand on ladders to climb up and pay their respects.
Lunch with your departed grandma, hiring a mariachi band to play for Uncle Albert or just a little sprucing up for Aunt Sally, everybody had a different way to honor their loved ones. Whole families sat and ate lunch around the grave site, some decided tipping a beer was the
best way to honor their lost love ones. At the new cemetery outside of town they must have thought their loved ones were getting too much sun because almost every grave had an umbrella planted over the grave all decorated with flowers, streamers and whirly gigs.
It was quite a site but it made me realize how unique and amazing the Peruvian people are. It also made me think about Dustin (our lost son) and how much I miss him. Twice a year we make the journey to Raleigh, on Dustin’s earthly and heavenly birthday, to the spot where he lost his life and place flowers and a sign to remind people to use their seatbelts.
I guess that is our All Saints Day, the Peruvians just decided to all get together and make a party out of it. We should all spend more time with our departed relatives or at least as much time thinking about them as want them to remember us after we have left this Earth.