01 November 2011

Tots Sants

Today is one of my favorite holidays (see here), perhaps because of how understatedly visceral it is.  Further, cemeteries are one of the most interesting places to visit in a new place -- they say so much about the customs and traditions of the locals, which is especially meaningful here, where sometimes the locals are hard to spot.  You can tell how special a day it is when even Lidl, which is open Sundays, is closed for the holiday today.

Little Spanish ladies dressed in black, in the way that you know they're in mourning clothes because it's not quite a chic look.  Others dressed in work clothes carrying buckets and brooms into the cemetery so that they can clear off the tombstones to get them ready for the new flowers.

I didn't expect the cemetery to be so paved.  There was no space in the cemetery for anything to be planted, everything is covered in stone.  There were some beautiful statues and even more beautiful typography on the stones.

The fall flowers were beautiful, lots of mums but also lots of gladiolas.  It makes me remember the defiantly red gladiolas on Antonio Gramsci's grave last time I was in the Protestant Foreigner's Cemetery in Rome, quite possibly my favorite cemetery I've yet been to.  Here, what was missing was the candles - which truly do add more visceral layers to the experience - but we had the sun, so no complaints.

This feast makes me wonder why we don't really celebrate it this way so much in America - quite possibly the commercialism of Halloween does truly eclipse it, and it's really too bad, because this is what it's about.

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