BILOXI, MS (WLOX) – Under sunny skies and a light breeze Monday, you could hear the gentle movements among the tombstones. They worked quietly, sometimes alone. Each took on the task of weeding, raking, and straightening the grave sites of relatives and friends who have passed on.
All Saints Day is a busy time at the Biloxi City Cemetery. Kay Semski spent the morning cleaning grave sites to remember more than 15 family members who are buried there.
"It means praying for all the souls that have gone before us. Really to honor them in a way," said Semski.
Sprucing up burial grounds on this Holy Day is a family affair for the Bakers and their daughter. Ronald Baker remembered how this tradition started with his own father.
"When I was a kid, we'd anchor a boat off the cemetery and row ashore and walk over, because we didn't have automobile," said Baker. "It's just to remember the deceased, you know, the ones that's gone. And just keep their memory alive as much as we can. Makes you feel good. It's a good deed."
Memories of loved ones also came to life for Sandra Patterson, as she tended to the final resting place of her grandparents.
"They were so instrumental in forming my life and it's just a time to reflect and let them know that I thank them and I remember," said Patterson.
The All Saints Day cleaning ritual connects people to the past and helps them express their love for the dearly departed.
"And prayer for them, prayer for their souls," said Semski. "They should be praying for us. I'm sure they're in heaven."
Cleaning the grave sites leads up to All Soul's Day Tuesday, a day to remember and pray for all the faithful departed.