Todos Santos is All Saints Day and is celebrated on November 1 in Bolivia. On this national holiday people prepare to visit cemeteries to honor the dead, the next day.
Todos Santos (Spanish for All Saints Day) is a traditional Catholic holiday celebrated on November 1 each year throughout the world, including Bolivia. On this day people honor all the Catholic saints, whether canonized or not. Although every day of the year has its own saint (some have more than one) there are more than 365 saints. So on this year, all are celebrated equally.
In Bolivia, Dia de los Muertos
(also known as Dia de los Difuntos, or Day of the Dead) is celebrated the next day, on November 2. The traditions attached to this day are very interesting.
In preparation for the two consecutive holidays, activities begin about 7 to 10 days earlier as people begin to clean the niches and tombs of their dead relatives in the cemeteries. Bricklayers and painters are hired to repaint and repair any that have been damaged, fresh flowers are purchased and bakers begin the tradition of selling tantawawas
, a type of sweetbread made into special shapes that have specific meanings.
Businesses and stores close for the day (sometimes both days although only November 2 is actually a national holiday) and Catholic churches hold special masses. During these two days, traditional indigenous customs mix with the Catholic beliefs brought by the Spanish over 500 years ago.