The 1st of November marks Turama, or “All Souls Day” celebrated on the island of Rarotonga, is a festival to remember and honour loved ones that have passed away.
In the week leading up to All Soul’s Day, families come together to clean up their graveyards, then throughout the day islanders decorate graves with beautiful and often fragrant flowers such as frangipani, gardenias and hibiscus which are strung in garlands around the grave sites. Special candles are placed, ready to be lit in the evening and then left to burn through the night. The thousands of flickering candles you pass as you make your way around the island is quite the sight and for many the ritual is seen as a peaceful, beautiful way to celebrate life.
At Turama islanders gather at grave sites and swap stories, sometimes laughing, sometimes silent as they remember their departed family and friends. It is a time for reflection, sharing, beauty, remembrance and a celebration of life and the after-life. In the evening there are services and non-denominational programs to remember loved ones who have died.