Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Day of the Living, November 1

Preparing lunch for November 1 - we did not celebrate Halloween on Oct. 31 - we completely ignored it - instead on this Nov. 1 we are preparing a wonderful lunch in the orno outside - chicken, plantain, sweet potatoes, what else could any one wish for. It is a day for celebrating family and friends and I am fortunate to belong to the friends part of this and get to spend the whole day with Emerita and Valerio's family at Apulaya.
Apolonia and Modesto getting the orno going so there will be enough warmth and embers to turn the chicken pieces and veggetables into delectable morsels in just over an hour's baking. Anais is busy with her good friend Chava - the little dog that will do whatever Anais tells her to do. Buddies!

Delicious tomato and peanut sauce for dipping the above mentioned orno baked vegetables in when they have been served on our plates in just a little while.

 Looking at this photo I am thinking that I need to remember how Emerita did this - or I have to make my own version of this - the fact is, this made a scrumptious 'salsa'.

Chicken exiting the orno with the aid of Valerio and Modesto, not to forget the oven mits. That orno is very hot indeed.
We enjoyed our lunch at the table from the 6 year old to the almost 105 year old - although we were missing one person, a new Apulaya art student and volunteer , Lucie from ..... Alberta!
She did arrive eventually, plane cancellations etc from Lima to Cusco are hard to control,  the circle complete for our evening ceremony.
Photo by Emerita  Anais, Pia and Lucie, waiting for ceremony to start.

Earlier in the day I had been invited to also place treats on the ceremony table in the hall way.  We went to the market and I had a ball purchasing treats for my family and friends. The treats are made/bought with the intent to make relatives who have passed on happy - this is an offering of some of their favorite foods - on this night after the celebration of Day of the Living - All Souls Night - our relatives come to stay with us, to see how we are doing and to give us a hand if we reach out and ask for their help. In this reciprocal culture when we give an offering we are entitled to ask for help or guidance in return. This was a bit foreign to me but I sent off thoughts to the people in my life who have already passed on, family members and friends - strange how long the list is when one starts to really think about it - and wonderful to know that .... this was in honour of all of these 'souls', spirits, it felt overwhelming and good at the same time.
Modesto, Anais and Apolonia. Photo by Emerita

We are waiting for the ceremony to begin. Modesto (on the left) is a paqo - a mediator between the natural and the supernatural worlds - he will perform the ceremony, a blessing, a mass over the foods and treats - calling on our ancestors, inviting them to come and enjoy this meal we are offering them and asking for their protection and aid or support as one feels one needs it. Anais is excited, to be looking at all the treats (which won't be eaten until the next morning) and to be with her grandparents during this beautiful and peaceful ceremony. It is a time of joy, being able to connect with our departed loved ones.

Spiritual view ...... ah, no, it was Emerita who had gone up the stairs in order to get this view - in a moment or two the ceremony will start, the lights were turned down a bit so it wasn't too bright, it was evening around 7 or 8 pm after all -
the ceremony lasted for a couple of hours, was read and recited in a beautiful mix of languages, Spanish, Quechua and Latin - my heart was filling up with sadness, longing, happiness, pleasure, memories, respect and thankfulness that I was able to honour 'my dead' in this manner - a whole new and wonderful way of connecting with loved ones now existing in a different realm.

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