Monday, 01 November was All Saints Day, which is a very important day in this community. This is the day the people honor their deceased loved ones by visiting their grave sites. It is so important that it is a legal holiday and the few shops that might be open, are only open for a few hours in the early morning.
In order for everyone to properly attend to the graves, the green markets in the old town and down in the Gruz harbor started to offer flower arrangements for sale the Friday and Saturday before. With nimble fingers, the older women who have years of experience create colorful arrangements quickly that are often sold immediately. Younger girls watch, acting as apprentices, and it pleases me to know that this is one cultural art that is not going to be lost. The majority of the flowers used are white, with an occasional splash of dark burgundy, some pink or yellow and an occasional red. The women are talented and I would love to learn how to make a simple display, let alone some of the more intricate; some have red and white intertwined and reminded me of a sheet cake.
Later, as I walked through the small entrance of the cemetery, I was greeted by an amazing sight. There was an overwhelming flower display. Each grave had 3, 5 or even 8 floral tributes sitting atop the marble slabs. Once I reached the Sosa family site, I counted 5 with just enough space remaining for my own tribute of white chrysanthemums. I am not aware how many of my family rest here, but I know the grave has been here since the early 1900s.
It had been raining for several days, gray skies and generally gloomy days. Monday it was crystal clear, sun was glowing like a golden ball and the sky was blue. I left the cemetery and crossed over the road to sit on one of the benches. The view of the emerald green Adriatic Sea, quiet and still as glass, gave me feeling of peace and tranquility and I knew that I, like my ancestors before me, was in the right place.