Haitian mourn earthquake victims on Day of the Dead

The bereaved arrived before dawn, carrying sweet coffee in plastic gallons, Haitian moonshine and Florida Water for the makeshift altars. Dressed in white and purple, they pushed through the gate of the main cemetery to honor their dead.

As some celebrated All Saints Day by honoring the spirits of their dead with church services and visits to cemeteries, the day took on a heightened significance in this broken capital as Haitians remembered those lost in the Jan. 12 earthquake.

``This is a very difficult moment. The people have problems. Their homes are destroyed. They are living underneath tents, and they can't even celebrate how they would like to,'' said Bacherlot Jeudy, one of several ``pere savane,'' performing services Monday inside the crowded, yet festive, Port-au-Prine cemetery. The pere savane is the symbolic representation of a Catholic priest in Vodou services.

``You see them here, but they had to muster up the strength just to come.''

Nearly 10 months after the disaster, Haitians are still grieving even as thousands spent the day attempting to celebrate life with dancing and song as they called on the spirits.

No official registry of the deceased exists. No memorial has been dedicated. And it was just days ago that authorities poured fresh concrete over a massive grave site inside the main cemetery where thousands were buried.

Even the numbers remain a matter of dispute, with some believing that far less than the 300,000 the government estimated died in the quake, and others saying it is way more.

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