All Saints Day (Festival in Peru)

All Saints Day (festival in Peru)

On these days, which are dedicated to the memory of the dead, Peruvians tend to attend Mass and then in coastal communities, head to the cemetery, bringing flowers and in the highlands, food to share symbolically with the souls of the dead. The worship of the dead was a common and respected custom during pre-Hispanic times in Peru, and part of that tradition, combined with Christian elements, still lives on today.

In the village of La Arena, in Piura, the locals head for the main square in the morning bringing their children dressed in their Sunday best. Also attending are relatives who have lost a very young child or niece or nephew. When these people meet a child who looks like the deceased, they give him or her small breadrolls, candied sweet potato or coconut and other sweets wrapped in finely-decorated bags, which are called "angels". At night, the relatives hold a candlelight vigil in the cemetery until dawn on November 2. In Arequipa and Junín the bags of "angels" are replaced by breadrolls in the shape of babies, called t'anta wawas.

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