Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Cemetary

It was bugging me that our blog was still called Path to Peru when we are already here. So I changed it, as you can see. We are looking forward to sharing with you our life in Peru!

Today our school went on a field trip to the cemetary. (Woohoo!) Yesterday was All Saints Day (Dia de Todos Santos in Peru). Peruvian custom is to visit the graves of your loved ones on this day and the days near it. As I understand it-(and this was all explained to me in Spanish so I could've gotten some details wrong I suppose)-many Peruvians believe that on 12 pm of All Saints Day, the heavens open up and the spirits of their loved ones return to their graves to visit their family. The familes visit the graves, bringing flowers of course, but also a meal, whatever were the favorite foods and drinks of the deceased. The spirits then return to heaven at 12 pm today, November 2.

A family seated around a grave (white tombstone) sharing a meal.

It was an interesting atmosphere. At the entrance, there were a lot of booths that sold food, flowers and other items people might need as they visit their loved ones. The cemetary was crowded with many familes surrounding graves eating and drinking.  It was noisy, not so much because of all the people, but because many people would bring music to play at the graves (the deceased's favorite songs), and there were a surprising amount of hired brass bands to play music at the grave sites. Below is a very short (just a few seconds) clip to give you an idea of what the cemetary sounded like.

The graves themselves were very interesting to look at too. Many of the graves were built as either a mini-replica of the person's dream house (I'm assuming maybe the house they always wanted but were never able to build?) or of the church in the hometown in which they were born.

This particular cemetary was outside of the city. Here's a photo of just to the right of the cemetary--you can see how dry and barren the land is here!

 This photo cracks me up. It wasn't until after he looked at the photo that Dan realized Lydia had put her hat on him and he was walking around wearing a pink girls sunhat. Poor guy.

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