On November 1, the Catholic world celebrates the Day of the Dead. This follows All Hallows Eve (Hallowe'en) and precedes All Saints' Day. Here in Guatemala, devout believers meet in cemetaries to spend time with dead relatives by bringing food to share with the hungry dead. The food is usually eaten by roaming dogs, or by those who bring it.
I visited the local cemetaries to observe the festivities. The rich cemetary had lots of kiosks set up at the entrance selling treats and french fries to visitors. I abstained. Many families surrounded the tombs and colorful concrete beds with beers, pop, bags of flower petals and long grass clippings, and of course french fries. They decorated the graves with the grass and petals.
I wandered accross the road to the poor cemetary where most graves are unmarked and have no cement coverings. Mercedez was with me to make sure I didn't do anything ignorant and to explain some of the behaviours. We met three young boys who were lighting votives on dirt mounds under plastic sheets and behind makeshift windguards. One of the graves was of an older sister.
Last night (Nov 2) there were apparently really big parties at the cemetery. I was planning on going to see them, but Eric didn't come so I didn't feel like standing in the mud and rain to film shadows.
Let me know some of your thoughts on this practice. I'd like to discuss.