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Family Graves in
the Cook Islands

Captain Tama's Lagoon Cruises, Rarotonga

When researching our trip to Rarotonga I came across a posting on the internet from a traveller who was disgusted at the Cook Islands practice of burying loved ones by the side of the road.

I didn't know what to think of that but was a bit surprised if that was the case.

Of course when we got to Rarotonga we saw what this person was referring to - and I cannot for the life of me work out what she was upset about.

Yes there were graves and small family cemeteries by the main road, but they were on their own land and were wonderful little plots tended with care by family members.

We thought it was a very nice custom and some of these graves are wonderful creations.

Now if you are on Rarotonga on November 1 then you will be in for a real treat.

It is the celebration of Turama, or All Souls Day (November 2), when folk get together to remember their departed loved ones.

On November 1 they decorate the graves and that night light them up with candles. That same night there is a requiem mass at the Catholic Cathedral in Avarua.

- Richard Moore


Copyright 2011 RICHARD MOORE