Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween In Bolivia

Fiesta de Todos los Santos

November 1st. is celebrated throughout the Catholic world as Día de Todos Santos, or All Saints Day, to honor all our saints, known and unknown, of the Catholic faithful. Every day of the year has its own saint or saints, but there are more saints than calendar days, and this holy day honors them all, including those who had died in a state of grace but had not been canonized. And, to keep things fair, November 2 is celebrated as the Day of All Souls.
Día de Todos Santos is also known as Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. Like many other Catholic celebrations, in the New World it was grafted onto existing indigenous festivities to meld the new Catholicism with the old pagan beliefs. In Bolivia, Día de Todos Santos is an important meld of many influences; the dead are expected to return to their homes and villages; Food, drinks, bread and sweets are waiting for them sited in a big table or “mesa” that the family carefully prepares. During this time, the doors are opened to guests, and kids who enter and pray and share in the traditional dishes, particularly the favorites of the deceased. Tables are bedecked with bread figurines called t’antawawas that resemble little kids or angels, sugarcane, chicha or liquor (cocteles), candies and decorated pastries. Group of kids will offer praying to the souls of the dead in exchange of pastries, bread and candy. At the cemeteries, the souls are greeted with flowers, more food, music, and prayers, rather than a sad occasion; the Día de Todos Santos is a joyous event that most of the times finishes with a huge hangover next day!.

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