Monday, November 21

The Turama festival on Rarotonga

Turama takes place in the Cook Islands on 1 November each year when Catholic priests bless the graves of deceased loved ones and local parishioners take time to remember and pray for the souls of those who have passed on.
All Souls Day is actually 2 November but it is now customary for Turama to take place on the eve of All Souls Day.
The main focus is of the event is the Catholic cemetery in Panama and in the days leading up to Turama families clean and decorate the graves. In years gone by everyone used fresh flowers and plants but artificial flowers are becoming much more common. You don’t get the beautiful scents that were once part of the ceremony but on the other hand the decorations last much longer and don’t make such a mess later on.
Most people still put candles and tea-lights on the graves but even in this the twenty-first century is making its mark with fairy lights twinkling here and there.
Then as the sun goes down the graves are sprinkled with holy water and the choir sings.
In many places in the world cemeteries are gloomy, sombre places but here on Rarotonga at Turama people come together and remember the good times as well as the sadness of loss.