Saturday, November 3, 2007

The Day Of The Dead

All Hallows Eve has, of course, always been known as the night when the witches and hobgoblins come out to have some fun. This is because it was widely believed that the 31st of October was the night when the worlds of the dead and the living were at their closest point of the year. Whilst we in the north of Europe tend to use it as an excuse to dress up and party, the inhabitants of Spain use their time for fiesta's to welcome the dead into the family again, just for one night.

On November 1st we decided to visit the local cemetery to see the outdoor Mass and spend our time thinking about our own lost family members from years gone by. During my travels in various parts of Europe I have seen some strange cemeteries. So different from what we are used to in Ireland. I thought I would include a couple of photographs of our local cemetery here to let you see how it's 'done' in Spain.

Instead of being put into the ground, the bodies are incarcerated into sections of a wall - each one just wide enough to slide the coffin into - and then sealed up. Visiting family members may have to climb up the ladders provided to replace dead flowers or clean the plaque, depending on where their loved ones are positioned in the wall.

Isn't it strange how we struggle through life, measuring our successes by moving to bigger and bigger houses, only to 'downsize' over and over again as we get older and realize that we don't actually need all that space after all. When we head for the final downsize in life we don't actually need a lot of room at all, just a two-by-two-by-six foot square hole in a wall. It's strange how many 'foreigners' are now buried in our local cemetery.
English, Irish, German, Russian, Dutch, French and Scandinavian to name but a few.
It comes to us all eventually.

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