Friday, November 4, 2011

Procession of the Saints

Tuesday, 11-1-11

Today was a special day and tonight a special night. We remembered the customs of people’s grandparents and great-grandparents. Traditionally, it is said that on this day the dead are allowed to leave their graves and go to the rivers to bathe. Since the deceased are at the rivers bathing, people are not supposed to go to the rivers nor should they bathe at home. This is to respect the people who’ve died. It’s also said that at 6pm on this night the dead have a procession from the cemetery accompanied by the saints of the Catholic Church.

Family members of the deceased are supposed to light one candle for each one of their loved ones who has died. This is to give light to them as they process together in the dark. If a family doesn’t light a candle for their loved ones, they will have to walk in darkness.

Years ago it was the custom to walk to the cemetery and put a candle on the graves of each one of your family members. But as years passed the tradition was lost. The head priest in Berlín, Father Cándido, is trying to bring back some of the old customs. For the second year in a row he has led a procession to the cemetery after mass on November 1.

So tonight around 7pm after mass had ended we gathered in front of the church for the procession. We walked with our candles lit. There were over a hundred people. A small band walked along with the group playing music we often hear at funerals. But it wasn’t a time for tears. It was a time to remember and honor our loved ones that have died.

When we reached the cemetery Father Cándido spoke for a while. Then we faced west, east, north, and south. Each time we faced a direction someone said a prayer which was followed by the Our Father and Hail Mary. As Father Cándido was saying the final prayer at the end of the ceremony I looked up and saw a shooting star. It happened so fast that at first I wondered if it was real. But I’m sure I actually saw it

After Father Cándido had finished speaking Kathy and I walked with Blanca and Cecilia to their family’s graves to put down our candles. We set them down and talked about the festivities tomorrow, which is the Day of the Dead. We didn’t stay long and soon headed back home. It was time to get some rest. Tomorrow is an even more important day.

Starting the procession to the cemetery

The band that played as we walked

Imagine carrying that bass and walking

Everyone had candles

At the gates of the cemetery

Right inside the cemetery
In the background is Father Candido

Cecilia and Blanca's family

Graves of Cecilia's aunts

All lit up

A tomb close to Cecilia's family

Candles all over the cemetery

A beautiful tradition

Remembering loved ones

It was a special night


rubireyes said...

Thank you for this post. I have never really understood the significance of the day of the dead but you just put it all into perspective for me.

WatchMeLoseWeight said...

I too never knew the significance of this day. I love the pictures, too. Miss you!!!


Matt said...

What a wonderful post. This looks like such a meaningful event and procession. I really like the idea of honoring and remembering family members who have passed on. It sounds almost magical that you saw a shooting star when you did.