Monday, November 1, 2010

All Souls/All Saints Day

In heavily Catholic New Orleans, All Saints Day (November 1) and All Souls' Day (November 2) have been observed for centuries through rituals celebrating life over death.

During the Yellow Fever epidemics in eighteenth century New Orleans, death always loomed close. It's presence left the lasting impression on this city and its inhabitants that life is a gift, perhaps fleeting, and should be enjoyed to its fullest each day. And so, on All Saints Day and All Souls Day, New Orleanians honor the lives of their dead loved ones by painting tombs with brilliant whitewashes, placing yellow chrysanthemums and red coxcombs on graves and ringing statuary with immortelles (wreaths of black glass beads). On these days, cemeteries throughout the city are alive with the flickering glow from fields of candles, as death is forgotten and lives lived are celebrated.

It is one of the many rich New Orleans' traditions, for we can imagine no other city which has turned such tragedy into such a joyous celebration of life.
(copy courtesy of InternationalHouse Hotel, New Orleans)

All Soul's Day second line parade in Treme.

Lighting of the tombs is a tradition done in parts of Louisiana. (photo courtesy of Thanks, Katrina blogspot).

New Orleans cemeteries are a work of art like no other -- comes from a tradition of remembering and honoring those who have passed.

And for my own father, who I know watches over me and my siblings from above, I light this candle on this day in remembrance of his full and beautiful life.


  1. Beautiful post my friend. I love the celebration of life over death during these two days.. Happy All Saints Day!!! hugs .. HHL

  2. Good evening Karina dear.....what a sweet tribute to your daddy....mine is gone too, and I miss him so. You are a New Orleans gal? Such a lovely culture and rich heritage. Thank you for the reminder of the light that outshines the darkness. Fondly, Anita

  3. My own heart is made calm by reading your post. Many thanks Karina for the lovely photos of families honoring those loved ones who came before us.

  4. I love the beauty and reverence in this ritual...meaningful tradition is a wonderful thing. Thanks for sharing yours!

    Hope Ava

  5. Dearest Karina ... such a beautiful and heartwarming post and what a beautiful tradition. To celebrate the lives of those we love who are no longer with us and to show the special memories they leave behind. To celebrate life and to cherish them is truly magical!
    hugs always
    ps the images of the cemetaries are hauntingly beautiful especially with all the candlelight!

  6. Exactly, you're very kind of us about comment!.


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