Tuesday, November 1, 2011

La Toussaint 2011

Today is La Toussaint in France, a national holiday. Although the word is a combination of the word tous ("all" in French) and saint, meaning "All Saint's Day," it is also "All Soul's Day." La Toussaint is closely related to the Día de los Muertos (Days of the Dead) in Latin cultures. It is a day to remember, celebrate, and honor departed loved ones and ancestors.

In France, people visit cemeteries to tend to the graves of family members and decorate them with chrysanthemums, a flower symbolizing death; generally, the French do not use this flower for any other purpose.

In honor of the day, I present some lovely images of the most famous cemetery in France, possibly the world: Père Lachaise in Paris.

There are many famous people--writers, actors, composers, public figures, even rock stars (Jim Morrison)--buried at Père Lachaise. Below are the graves and monuments for Edith Piaf, Marcel Proust, Oscar Wilde (a very interesting, very Streamline Moderne monolith for him!), and Chopin.

Visit the Père Lachaise website for an absolutely fantastic virtual tour. You can wander around the beautiful serene avenues, admire the sculptural tombstones, or search graves by name!

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