Sunday, November 13, 2011

Un Dia en el Campo

In Bolivia Day of the Dead is a national holiday associated with animistic beliefs. Our understanding of all the details is a little sketchy because no one in our church participates in these events and although Nathan almost had an opportunity to participate, it fell through at the last minute. But I'll give you what we do know:

On the first of November, All Saints Day, a table is prepared in the house of the deceased person. This table is adorned with favorite foods of the deceased, breads molded into different shapes, etc. That night people are welcomed into the home to honor the soul of the deceased and it is during the night the soul of the person returns. If the person has died in the last year the presentation is much grander.

Then on the second of November, Day of the Dead, the food and offerings to the deceased person are gathered up and taken to the grave site. Many gather at the graves and linger throughout the day. We passed a couple of cemeteries on our way home and many were gathered. We would love to have a photo to share of one cemetery in particular but the distance wouldn't allow it. Not another person could have crowded inside the "walls."

Due to the animistic beliefs behind this holiday, our church likes to take the day off as an opportunity to get together and get away. So instead of investigating the details of the huge cultural event happening we spent the day in the country. We all met up at a house at the edge of a reservoir about 30 minutes from the city, the "chocolate" lake. We played games, spent time with friends, ate together (of course), enjoyed a nice rainstorm during lunch and witnessed three baptisms. Overall it was a great day with the people of our church and we were thankful for the opportunity. The girls loved a day playing in the dirt and throwing rocks in the very muddy lake (therefore no swimming!). We were thankful to our friends, Emerson and Suellen, for offering us a place in her parents' Land Cruiser so we didn't have to ride in the back of the dump truck with the girls!

You can see a lot more pictures from our day here! Or check out a video of the Human Tug-O-War here!

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