Saturday, November 05, 2005

Day of the Dead November 2

Day of the Dead 7
Originally uploaded by Brazil Bean Brewed.

Interesting cultural note this week, Halloween is not the big of a deal here in Brazil. There were no kids trick-or-treating, no huge bag of candies in the stores and almost no decorations. Instead two days later, we found out that there would be another day off where everything in the city would be closed. Our Portuguese teacher invited us to go to a cemetary with her that morning. We thought that was kind of odd but see told us we needed to go to understand Brazilians better. When we got to close to the cemetary there was the biggest traffic jam that we could remember in a long time. When we arrived there were thousands of people. It was amazing to think that Brazil has a national holiday to commemorate their loved ones. Families pay people to clean up the graves of family members, they light candles, and even fires. The people that practice Condomble, the african spiritist religion, start mini bonfires to the Mae dos Santos, their spiritual leaders that died that year. The way the cemetaries are built is also interesting to us. The rich own graves that are mini church buildings, very ornate and very large. The middle class tend to own marble graves, like many you would find in Canada or the States. Where as the poor tend to rent spots in a wall. There are many walls about five or six people high and hundreds across. It was our first time to see something like this. It was amazing to see so many people in a cemetary and to know that they would be there for most of the day to commemorate their families on this holiday. Definately a day to remember and a new cutural tid bit add to our list of cultural insights.

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