Saturday, October 31, 2009

Honoring those who have passed

November 1 is traditionally a day in this part of the country for people to honor their dead by cleaning up the graves of their departed relatives and lighting the graves at dusk .

from an article found at suite101 dot com:

In south Louisiana, above-ground tombs are almost a necessity due to the low elevantions of the land. Prior to the days of affordable granite monuments, most Cajun tombs were constructed of brick or concrete and quickly became blemished by the elements of nature. It became a common custom to "whitewash" the tombs with a thick mixture of lime (calcium hydroxide) and water. Those Cajun families who had a little more money to spend would apply white paint to beautify their tombs. At least once a year, the gravesites were cleaned with bleach and another coat of white was added to the mortar surfaces. New floral arrangements were put into place, and the tombs took on a freshened appearance prior to the annual cemetery blessing by the local priest.

It's a beautiful tradition that ushers in the winter season for me....the beginning of the "falling back" of daylight savings time and the accompanying shorter days. There's something ethereal to witness this custom in person.

While at time dot com tonight I ran across this picture that depicts how people in Hong Kong honor their dead:

Wall of Memories
People sweep their ancestors' graves during the Chung Yeung Festival at a vertical cemetery in Hong Kong.

America generally honors her dead on Memorial Day

Latinos recognize their loved ones who have passed during Dia des la Muertos (Day of the Dead). As in many Latin American countries, Mexico commemorates the Day of the Dead or All Souls’ Day on November 2nd.

The ancient Egyptians mummified their dead, and used stele .

From the quick reading I've done, the stele looks as if it was used to tell the story of the deceased. Seems like the stele was the inspiration for the gravestones we use today.

So if you're out and about in the Slidell/Lacombe area tomorrow at dusk, stop to witness the people here honoring their dead, while La Toussaint takes place in France.

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