News Story

French Polynesians Remember Beloved Ancestors on ‘La Toussaint’ Day 

Each year on All Saints' Day (La Toussaint) on 1 November and during the Day of the Dead on 2 November, French Polynesians devote time and take special care to beautify the graves of their deceased loved ones.

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints continue in this tradition of remembering loved ones who have passed away. 

Renovating, repainting, cleaning and decorating graves are part of this tradition of honouring the dead. Bouquets of flowers embellish and give colour and life.

Finally, homage is paid during the “Turamara’a,” the illumination of the graves on the evening of November 1, including sharing memories and celebrating with family at the gravesite. 

In Polynesia, the “Day of the Dead” takes on an even more painful dimension this year with the 636 people who died during the Covid-19 pandemic. The country observed a minute of silence on Tuesday, November 2 at 10:30 a.m. to pay tribute to them. 

Members of the Church talk about how this moment of celebration brings families closer to their deceased ancestors but also to Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world. 

Toriki Chung Tien, 16, from Tubuai, said, “My little brother and I painted our grandfather's graveyard house and helped our mother decorate his grave with pride and joy. Every time we talked about him and the blessings he performed, I felt his presence and my tears flowed. Thanks to the Gospel and the resurrection, I know that one day we will meet as a family and that I will find my grandpa who I miss so much." 


Kamihiria Teriitemoehaa, 13, from Punaauia on the island of Tahiti said, "Every year, we clean the cemetery. It allows me to never forget our departed relatives while I listen to family members share stories about them. I found these moments to be so heartwarming and fun. Outside of All Saints' Day, I have the blessing of horouring my deceased ancestors by performing their ordinances in the holy house of God. I don’t understand everything, but I know it’s important to me and my family. I also know that because of Jesus Christ, families can be eternal." 

Mehiti Rima, 26, from Avera on the island of Raiatea, is still emotional whenever she thinks of her father who died ten years ago. “I draw my strength from Christ but also from this saying which vibrates in my heart and makes the absence of my father bearable: ‘Because someone we love is in heaven, there is a little bit of heaven in our home.’" 

“I recently lost my mom, a woman of great faith who tirelessly taught me the gospel," said Teuruhei Lin Sin, a mother of two from Papeete, Tahiti. "Thanks to her, I gained my own testimony and my family and I were sealed in the temple. I know that I will see her again. This is what I love about this Gospel. The Church invites us all to celebrate the Day of the Dead by turning our hearts to the Saviour to find hope and solace. Those who have left us have gone to the other side of the veil. When the time comes, we'll see our loved ones again." 

Avearii Teriihaunui from Avera on the island of Raiatea, said, “We miss my dad who died two months ago. He left behind a legacy of faith, service and perseverance. He loved God and the Saviour fervently. He lovingly served his family so that we never lacked anything, spiritually and temporally. He tirelessly served ward and stake members. He showed us the Saviour's way and how to follow it." 

“I am grateful for my grandfather because he taught me the value of hard work," said Viritahi Roi, a young adult from Paea. "I miss him a lot. I am grateful for the temples the Lord has placed here on earth so that I can feel his presence and one day be able to return to him." 


Narii Pou, a young man from Papeari, said, “I am grateful for His plan of happiness which gives me hope and assurance that one day I will see my father who died when I was young. He loved ministering and sharing the joy of the Gospel with those around him, he never said no to serve anyone in need, so much so that he was called ‘the wonderful’ in our stake." 

“On All Saints' Day, I feel sad thinking about my brother and my father, but thanks to Christ and his Atonement, my sadness can be relieved," explains Rani Maere, from Faaa.


Roger Chung Tien is a grandfather from Tubuai in the Austral islands. He said, “Cleaning up my daddy's grave brings back many memories to me. I miss him but know he lives in me through all the strong teachings he taught me. I am grateful and blessed to know that I will see him again with our Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ through the resurrection."  

Latter-day Saints take comfort in the New Testament scripture: "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive" (1 Corinthians 15:22). 

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