Sunday, November 1, 2015

Day of the Departed, El Dia de los Difuntos

Here in Virú, they just don't do the dress up for Halloween thing. Instead they take November 1st and the nights before and after to honor their dead. Since we live next door to a cemetery, we've been able to watch the steady stream of people pouring off the buses and combis at the bottom of the cemetery hill. They close the roads close to the cemetery to help with traffic, so as people get off the buses and combis, the vehicles have to back down the way they came. Instead of flat headstones, they have little houses so they can put food in there to honor their dead. After dark they light fires at each grave. Maybe it's to keep warm all night while they wait to see if their departeds make an appearance on the earth. And people sell food all along the road to the cemetery. Our neighbor makes picarones with chancaca, that's fresh donuts with molasses syrup...yummy. People stop and buy food along the way to put inside the graves. 

Up close, the graves look like little houses.

This is how our cemetery looks in the day.
This is how it looks at night with fires lit by the graves. 
No, please don't let Maité take my phone, again.


  1. Hyrum: that is crazy they don't celebrate Halloween!
    Martha: I just gave the kids a quick history of how we used to celebrate Halloween. They are in shock we didn't dress up and go trick or treating every year!
    All: the graves look like a neighborhood far away!
    All: who eats the food in the grave houses?? A nice day for a picnic eh?

  2. We also live next to a cemetery...but it is not nearly as exciting as yours!