Morne a l’Eau is located in the western part of Grande Terre. This town is an important crossroad for all the inhabitants of the north of the island. The body of water of Vieux Bourg is exceptional, a lot of water activities are available on site.The cemetery of Morne a l’Eau is the most visited of the Guadeloupe Islands. You can only be amazed by its architecture, shaped like an amphitheatre, its beautiful vegetation and its 1800 tombs. The black and white tiles took over the entire space, forming an amazing chessboard. Nobody really knows what is the meaning of this setting.
Some people say that it represents the opposition of the yin and the yang, of life and death. Others say that white is the color of mourning in Africa, when it is the black in Europe, sort of a alliance between both.
Some of the tombs stand out with a light blue or pink color. And some of the vaults are sometimes real little houses, and some people hire an architect to build their final home. The most impressive one is a 2 story structure with its little staircase, its terrace and its window. But it wasn’t always like that, the town was founded in 1827 and back in those days, a lot of dead were buried on the plantations, and only rich people and nobles, could afford a nice grave. Even in cemeteries, slaves and masters wouldn’t be mixed. Nowadays every social class of the Guadeloupean society is represented. The oldest tombs seem to date from 1847, twenty years after the construction of the town.
In the Guadeloupe Islands, celebrating the dead is really important. Every year before All Saints Day, families start cleaning the graves, pulling weeds, and adding a fresh coat of paint on them, so they look at their best in order to celebrate the dead. The evening of All Saints Day is not a sad moment, it’s rather a celebration: you will find street vendors selling bokits, pistachios and sinoballs… It is the occasion to gather with relatives and to recall good memories.
But the cherry on top of the festivities is definitely the light show: thousands of candles illuminating the 1800 tombs will leave you speechless. This year the cemetery is classified as Historical Monument, just like the Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris.