The rest of the world calls today “Todos Los Santos” (All Saint’s Day).  However, here in Cadiz province, the local accent deems Ds, Ss and nearby vowels unnecessary.  That linguistic laziness is now officially written.  So today we celebrated “Tosantos”.

I wrote about it last year.  About how the old ladies shuffle in with their buckets and scrub brushes to freshen up the tombstones and replace the plastic flowers.

Rogelio has never shown much interest.  But this year I decided we were going to the cemetery.  I know where the cats live.  I wanted to see the kids’ relatives.

Even with my sister-in-law’s good directions we had to hunt through the names on the wall.

Here lie Yago and Río’s great-grandmother and great-grandfather, Angeles Caro Cordon and Rogelio Marquez Obispo.

My Rogelio hadn’t been here since his Grandmother’s funeral in 1996.   She died at 93 and had lived with Rogelio and family all his life.  He surprised himself by choking up at the sight of it.  It’s also odd to see your own name on a tombstone.

Then we wandered over to the oldest corner of the cemetery.  And within the old part, to the corner away from the fancy marble carvings and raised markers.  The poor people’s part.  We found my kids’ great-great grandfather.

It’s a simple grave decorated with kitchen tile.  The names and dates carved on the wooden marker were eroded long ago.

Rogelio is now inspired to do a little digging.  But we are guessing a birthdate around 1875 and his death around 1945.  My mother-in-law updated the plastic roses yesterday.  It makes for an odd juxtaposition.

We just sat there and looked.

Rogelio was uncharacteristically quiet.

Which means we will be visiting here more often in the future.


  1. I like this tradition you’ve resurrected for your family. It’s important. It’s decent. It’s the right thing to do. Good job, Mama. Well done.

    I took the kids too except it didn’t have as much meaning since we have no family here in the pueblo. I thought I might try to coax the kids into picking out a quiet spot for us to remember Babu, my suegra. I suggested a pretty fountain amidst wild flowers. Then there was the quiet of the pozo against the far wall of the cemetery. I was outvoted. She got the spindly rose bush that sits right under the hornet’s nest. Hmmmmm…I’ll reserve further comment on that one.

  2. So I’ve scoured your blog looking for contact information. Alas, either there is none or I’m too incompetent to find it. I just felt compelled to inform you that I wrote an article with tips on studying abroad (particularly in Sevilla) and when describing the accent here I used “tosantos” as a prime example. Per good blogger etiquette, I linked this reference back to your post… but the editor of the expat website I was writing for removed all my links. I feel like I’ve somehow stolen your intellectual property and my Catholic guilt is eating me up right now, so I guess this is just an FYI. I can harass the editor and ask her to give you your credit where its due. The article is at:

    1. HI Lauren, thanks for your dilligence. I guess I should add some contact info! I worked as an assistance for a time as well. Enjoy your time in Seville. I’m glad to have found your blog.

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