Saturday, November 01, 2008

Dia De Los Muertos

The Day of the Dead.

I've always loved Halloween. Dressing up like a ghost or vampire, witch or ghoul has always appealed to me. I never thought of it as scary - just fun.

As I got older I remember reading about the Day of the Dead festivals they have in Mexico. November 1st is for remembering babies and children who have passed away and November 2nd is for remembering adults.

The thought behind it that on these days it's easier for the souls of the deceased to come back and visit the living. They are close enough to hear the prayers and stories that their loved ones have to tell them.

These are celebrations of death and re-birth. Families come out and clean up the graves, prepare food for the dead, bring gifts for the deceased children or bottles of tequila for the adults.

Some modern religions have kind of changed this ritual to mean that if you died and were not cleansed of your sins this is the day to come back and get it done by prayer.

Leave it to the church to take a celebration of the natural order of life and turn it into something about sin.

I'm not sure what I believe happens to us after we die. Heaven or hell. I don't fear death really - I can't say I ever did. I'd like to think my Mom is up there watching me once in a while - just checking to see if I'm OK. Our weekly phone call resumed. "Hi Mom, how are you?", "Oh, I'm fine - you know." "Yeah, I know. I love you!" "Love you too hon, take care of yourself." "Ok, you too."

We never say good bye though - we just end the conversation to pick it up the next week. It may be the same conversation over and over again but as long as I can remember the sound of her voice, it eases the fact of how much I miss her.

To all of those who have passed on before us - I hope you get to visit us in the next day or so and hear our stories and in some way are able comfort those who miss you.


Scout said...

I was just listening to stories a Guatemalan woman was telling about how they celebrated All Hallows Eve and the food they would leave for the dead. It's much more interesting than giving candy to already over-sugared kids.

I think I'll go call my mother.

neetzy said...

The Mexican Day of the Dead is a wonderful tradition. I wanted to recreate a celebration at one of daughter A's elementary schools and the religicans vetoed it. They thought it was Satanic. These same people outlawed Halloween parades at school. I miss Mom's voice too. Scout, call your mom as much as you can while she is with you.