November 1 is celebrated as All Saint’s Day. Tomorrow is All Soul’s Day. Last year at this time we were leaving our training sites about to be sworn in as volunteers, so this year is my first year at site for the holiday. My host mom has been busy getting the family mausoleum retiled and in shape for the big day. She and her brother have taken a lot of time to prepare to celebrate their relatives and the saints that have passed away.
Tonight, we had a big dinner at her house with all of her family and then at 7 there was a mass held in the cemetery. When I say big dinner, I mean BIG, and with lots of people. I usually end up sitting next to my host uncle and his wife during meals like this. He has a tendnecy to make sure I try everything on the table. He'll even go as far as to crack the crabs for me and just place the crab meat on my plate. I don't know if he doesn't think I can do it myself, or if he's just being really helpful...either way, yum.
The mass at the cemetery was really like nothing I've ever been to in America. It is at this old cemetery packed with adults and kids, candles of all sizes burning on headstones or ornate candle holders. Everybody listens to the service and then most will settle in to spend the night among the graves.
Probably the one snapshot memory that I'll always keep in my head was a group of men and boys sitting on top of a double stacked vault, playing cards, with a sidewinding palm tree and the full moon in the packground. Seeing the place lit with candles was amazing, and made it a special memory.