Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Trini Tuesday-All Saint's Day

It's been a while since I did one of the culturally informative Trini Tuesday posts but it seemed a good time.




The year we spent in Trinidad exposed us to a whole new set of holidays that I have written about in many other posts long ago. Other holidays we were accustomed to observing were not part of the calendar. The end of October/beginning of November was a slight twist. There were no Halloween parties where everyone dressed up and no trick or treating with kids all in costumes. We knew that would be the case. What we didn't realize was what a big deal All Saint's Day was.


People may not dress up for Halloween but this time of year is the time for graves to be dressed up. I snagged the above picture from Flickr to give an idea what the tombstones in Trinidad look like. I'm not sure what sort of stone or materials are used but they are generally white like that. The harsh tropical sun and the driving tropical rains that beat down in that part of the world have a way of degrading things quickly. House paint fades, curtains fade and the fabric weakens, graves and their markings are no exception.


As we moved around our town during the last days of October and first days of November we noticed crowds of people in the local cemeteries whitewashing the tombstones before painting in the information contained on them. The cemeteries are not the huge expanses of land maintained by perpetual care arrangements so the families come to weed out the overgrowth, tidy up the markers, and offer prayers and remembrances. Folks had picnic lunches, flowers and candles all over the place. Some people were quite serious and somber about the proceedings but most of them seemed to have a rather festive mood. After all, this is Trinidad, where the populace boasts about having more public holidays on the calendar than any other nation (I haven't researched to verify that claim. I only know I heard it more times than I can recall.) All dey would take any chance tuh fete!


Even though All Saint's Day is a Catholic tradition it is not unusual to see Protestants, Hindus and Muslims out tidying up the graves of their departed family members too. Again, we were in Trinidad where the various religious traditions bump up against each other and comingle celebrations. The other groups might not be partaking in the religious aspects of the day but if it is chance to fete, or have some food, or meet a family obligation it's not necessarily limited to one segment of the population.

We didn't go to cleanup any graves but we had our own minor observation of the season. After I came home from the market Diana pulled a bag over her head. I took it back long enough to rip out an eye hole. She enjoyed running around our house and jumping out to say "BOO!"

22 comments:

Hypersonic said...

Aaah! To be sure. Here in Brazil, Halloween is beginning to be celebrated more and more ( possibly because of the amount of English schools here), But All Saints Day is celebrated the same way with the visting of, cleaning up of and decorating of graves and sepulchres.

Jodes said...

will you ever go back?

snowelf said...

You know, I find that to be a really neat tradition.

And how adorable is your daughter with that bag on her head! It sounds like something Mr. Woobie would do! :D

--snow

S said...

Oh that picture of Diana with the bag on her head is scrumptdidlyumptious!

We recently discovered a 200 year old cemetery just down the road from here...its so creepy overgrown and cool!

Keyser Soze said...

All dem dead dey do like dem fetes!
Trini voodoo zombies want Brains!!!

Ahem...

Moosekahl said...

What a great idea...abandoning religious boundaries for the sake of honoring our loved ones. oh, the things our country could learn from others.

That's one scary boo there too...Adorable!

Cooper said...

My Dad's Birthday was Nov 1 - he never let us forget that it was All Saint's Day - of which he certainly was not.

40 was a piece of cake - although 40 seems to hit women harder than men and 50 blows men away primarily.

Walnuts at 10 paces - you're on!!!!

MONA said...

We have various festivals in India that co mingle too. Now is the time for the largest no of festivals, every week we have at least two festivals, for the next one month!

Di looks so cute! :)

Pauline said...

My neighbours are Polish and they too make a great deal of All Saints Day.

Crabby said...

I really love these Trini posts. Everytime you do one I realize how much I don't know about other parts of the world.

LOL! Either Diana was really tiny or she found one very big grocery bag.

Queenie said...

I always learn something new here, its good to be back.

lime said...

hypersonic, ah yes, i thought there migh tbe asimilar tradition in brazil, thanks:)

jodes, i certainly hope so

snowelf, kids are great aren't they?

s, oooh, those are the kinds with lots of personality

keyser, guess i am safe if they come looking here ;)

moose, it is one of the things i loved about trinidad.

cooper, funny about your dad. thanks for the reassurances. walnuts??? i laugh! let the baking begin!

mona, yes, it does seem there is always some festival going on in india from what i have heard

pauline, oh..interesting. i didn't know that.

crabby, i am so glad you enjoy them. diana was not even 2 yet when that picture was taken

queenie, it's good to have you back :)

Top cat said...

Lmao at the picture and Diana's boos.:)
tc

david mcmahon said...

Never been to the West Indies, despite my cricket background. Really enjoyed this post.

Guess what - my novel is done and edited and emailed to my agent and Penguin - 24 hours early!

Kicking up my heels now and returning to blogland - woo-hoo!!

Keep smiling

David

SignGurl said...

Look how little Diana was! They grow up so fast. Seems like just last week she was asking you about your personal lubrication stash...er...um...wait, that WAS last week!

Beach Bum said...

Great post, I would really like to make it to Trinidad during carnival. Of course without my wife but you know what they say about a snowball in hell.

Diesel said...

Aaaaaahh! It's scary paper bag monster!

Nana-g said...

That is by far the cutes pumpkinmeister I have seen so far this season! Boo to you too!

Dorky Dad said...

At least they don't burn things to the ground, which is what they did in Ireland when I was there ...

G-Man said...

Awww...
Precious little waif!
Remember that one...
Great Trini Post Trini!!
xoxox

lime said...

tc, it makes me giggle too

david, i forgot you started reading me during my break from trini tuesday posts...there are several dozen of them. congrats on the early finish!

signgiurl, LMAO....yer killin me! where DOES the time go?

beach bum, well, good luck with that dream...

diesel, terrifyin, huh?

nana, i thought she was pretty cute, thanks:)

dorky dad, yikes, i prefer grave painting

gman, thanks, i thought you might like it

TorAa said...

Diana sure do understand what's all about: Screaming fun