Saturday, November 03, 2007

All Saint's Day

Every 1st of November, people flock to the cemeteries to visit their departed loved ones. I'm sure this isn't unusual but over here, it's more than just a short visit and a prayer. It's an occasion to gather and eat and talk. It's like a party actually.

I remember when we used to go to North Cemetery in La Loma. We'd have to park somewhere far because roads would be closed to accommodate the crowds. Then we'd walk for more than an hour through crowds so thick, you don't even have to walk on your own sometimes. The press of the crowd would keep you moving.

We transferred our grandfather's remains to a nearby memorial park and it became easier. Now I have both sets of grandparents and an aunt in the same place. I left the kids at home this year with the hubby. I didn't think the crowd and the heat and hanging out the whole day at the cemetery would be good for them.

We still had to park a short distance away, below are my siblings while they walked behind me and my mom (she had an umbrella!). You can see we try to dress for comfort as the heat can become unbearable! Cars are lined up going inside (it's hardly moving, I don't know why they bother).



Scenes from the cemetery. Tents like the ones below lined up as far as the eye can see.




You can see how crowded it can get with a lot of people cramped over a small plot of land. Despite this, people stay from morning till night, even spending the night sometimes (Oct 31 to Nov 1).





Lunchtime! Typical Filipino food -- Grilled liempo (pork), diced tomatoes and onions with red egg, the ever present green mangoes, my Dad's bopis (don't know the english name for this) and tuna pasta that I prepared. The one below is what we call talangka. I don't eat it now (though my mom says I used to) but they like it. Ewww!



Is it too weird that I didn't take pictures during my vacation but I took pics of the cemetery trip?

8 comments:

houseband00 said...

D and I did our visit the Saturday prior to the first. We'd usually visit on the first but, as you said, it is a bit tiring. Being by ourselves at the cemetery last Saturday was a more solemn and peaceful experience.

Pacha said...

Is it wierd that I loved these photos and your tale about food, family and cemetaries????

This is a beautiful post.

It looks HOT HOT HOT from over here...and for some reason this makes me feel nostalgic! (November is hot hot hot in Argentina too).

I find All Saints Day is such a lovely opportunity to reunite with family and remember - it is an extremely sad day but it is also a happy celebration of life and love.

I took my kids along to the cemetary - much to my fathers disapproval!

Pacha said...

Are you in four too? three sisters and one brother?

And just how do you manage to look 18 in all your photos?????

Menchie said...

HB,
I'm sure it was. It was bedlam during the first, I am really glad we don't have to go to North in La Loma anymore. I used to tell my sister I'd pay her to carry me, and she always replied that she'd pay me double if I carry her instead.

Pacha,
No, not too weird. :D

I just couldn't take the kids with me even though my dad wanted me too. It's not just the heat. They make so much noise that I don't think I would be able to stand it in such small confines for the whole day.

Yes, we're four! My brother's the youngest and I'm the eldest. And thank you for saying I look 18! *happy amile* I'd say I love you if I didn't already!

Within Without said...

Thanks, Menchie, for this neat glimpse into your customs, your food and your family!

I really don't know how widespread this kind of custom is here in North America, but I think it's pretty rare...I've certainly never done it or known anyone who has.

But it sounds cool, even though it looks very hot there. And Pacha's right about you looking 18...

Keshi said...

Seems like a GREAT wknd then...the pics r great. Its ok that u took pics of the cemetery and not the vacation...it happens sometimes :)


U look lovely!
Keshi.

JO-N said...

I have not been to Philippines. Thanks for introducing this to us. The cemeteries look neat and nice compared to ours.

Menchie said...

WW,
We used to dread going there because of the heat and the long walk but now that we're older it's something we all look forward to. Thank you for agreeing with Pacha! :D

Keshi,
thanks sweetie! It was a great weekend. :D

jo-n,
Oh, come visit! Not all cemeteries look like the one in the pic. But since it is a special occasion, people really clean it up in preparation for the day.