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Volume No: 
655

By Angel Nuñez

Where does the soul of a dead person go? Some believe that it goes to Heaven.  Others argue that it goes straight to Hell if the person led a pernicious life while alive.  Still others argue that the soul goes to a place called Purgatory where it remains until it is time that it qualifies to step up to Heaven.
 
It is these souls that are in Purgatory that re-join the dead bodies buried in the cemetery that come out every Midnight during the entire month of November.   They are called Las Animas. Each ghostly body represents a deceased resident of San Pedro.  Here is the full story behind Las Animas.

“Dios te salve Maria, llena eres de gracia, el Señor es contigo, bendita tu eres entre todas las mujere…” The words of the prayer Hail Mary echo and fade away as Las Animas are in procession around the two main streets of San Pedro.  They are dressed full white, each carrying a lit candle and instead of walking, they are floating about two feet in the air. The two main streets of San Pedro are desolate and dark giving the Animas the somber silence and peace that they need to come out in prayer.

The Procession of Las Animas on the Streets of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize

Pablito, an incredulous young man, heard the murmur and opened his window to have a quick and furtive glance at them. Suddenly a coldness invaded his body and one of the Animas floated towards his direction, and even though he wanted to close the window, he did not have the strength to do so.  The Anima handed him a lit candle, and he managed to wrap his fingers around it.  The procession of some one hundred Animas proceeded in murmuring prayer as warmth now embodied Pablito who could not reach his hammock but fell on the ground unconscious.

The Procession of Las Animas on the Streets of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize

The Procession of Las Animas on the Streets of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize

The next morning Pablito woke up late with a high fever.  He barely recollected the events of the night before and noticed that the candle he had received was now a large human bone.  Rumors spread like wild fire in the small village of San Pedro and the town’s healer, “El Curandero” came to see Pablito and he immediately confirmed that Pablito had received the candle from one of Las Animas.  This was serious because it meant Pablito would be gone, you know…dead within nine days when the Anima would return a visit.  However there was one solution to his predicament.  He had to get a male baby, put the bone/candle in the baby’s hands, and wait until midnight to return the candle/bone to the same. According to established tradition, the Anima would come to get his victim, but upon seeing an innocent baby, it would not follow with the grotesque spell.

The Procession of Las Animas on the Streets of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize

With much fear but filled with hope, Pablito did exactly as “El Curandero” had explained, and low and behold, he got rid of the bone, the Anima’s candle.  The procession left and never ever returned in the vicinity of Pablito’s house.  Well perhaps it did pass by in solemn procession, but Pablito’s house would be totally locked, and he would be covered in his hammock from head to toe.  Moreover, he was tucked up fast in bed, I mean in his hammock, long before the midnight hour because he meant no harm, and he respected the privacy of Las Animas.  Pablito, the unbeliever, was now a credulous young man. He learned to respect the power of the spirits. He learned that the entire month of November is a month of prayer for the repose of the souls of the deceased who are in Purgatory and who are yearning with our help through prayers, to enter into Heaven.

The Procession of Las Animas on the Streets of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize

 


25 Years Ago Books Can Be Purchased At:
-Ambergris Today Online Newspaper -Jose Luis Zapata Photography –Richie’s Stationery -Lala’s Store -Pampered Paws -San Pedro BTB Office -S.P. Town Library -Di Bush, A & R
Contact the Author at: [email protected]

 

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