Saturday, August 05, 2006

Kari aifunan (The scattering of flowers)

Zalia collected the flowers from the trees in our shared garden. Her mother Domingas, fashioned them into beautiful wreaths. Members of “our” family and their kin arrived on our veranda. Two older girls each carried a basket which contained the wreaths and posies of pink flowers. Hand knitted purple doilies kept the flowers in place. Together we walked down to Raikotu beach and clambered over the cement breaks which dot the headland which borders the airport.
As the tide went out, Senyor Raphael, Daniel and I each threw a wreath into the ocean while the children threw the small posies. This laying of flowers on the ocean is in honour of my grandmother who died on the 21 July. Because she died over the oceans in another land, the Timorese conduct such a memorial at the beach rather than a cemetery. Doing so is symbolic of where the person died and the waves shall carry the flowers and thoughts of loved ones to the shores of the land they died in.

One young woman and Senyor Raphael tried to light a bunch of small white candles, much like the ones you see in a Catholic church, but with the strong wind, it took many attempts. Finally lit, we placed them on a stone ledge to burn. Raphael said that it allowed us to remember all our grandparents who had passed on and that conducting such a ceremony was for the benefit of those who remain behind, so that they can again be at peace.

Members of "our" family and their kin with the basket of flowers for the kari aifunan down at Raikotu beach, Dili


The basket of flowers with a photo of my Nanna (centre) on her 90th birthday in February (my Aunt Jan is to the right in the photo).


Once sent forth on the outgoing tide, the aifunan (flowers) initially come back to shore


Category: Timor-Leste (East Timor)

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1 Comments:

Thanks for sharing that story....what an interesting and romantic ceremony....

By Blogger Angelo de los Angeles, at 10:58 pm  

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