Friday, October 28, 2011

Dia de los Muertos

Next Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday mark one of my favorite periods in the liturgical year. After the reminder of evil and our own mortality on Halloween and the glorious triumph of good over evil in the lives of those who have conformed themselves to Christ on All Saints Day, we arrive where we always must in this vale of tears: at solidarity with our fellow Christians—in this case, the faithful departed, who are gone from this life but not from our memory. ~ Scott P. Richert
When I was a kid it never failed, once a year we would go and visit my grandmother's grave, had it cleaned, fresh flowers were taken and placed in the flower pots, and we all prayed for her eternal rest. Yet as packed as the cemetery was on "Dia de los Muertos" it was always sort of an eerie feeling. If you,ve never seen a Mexican cemetery trust me it's nothing like the American ones which look like nice manicured parks and have neighborhoods built around them.

But at least once a year we paid respect to our dead by visiting. Then at our house my tia would build an altar where food offerings for our departed would be placed. At the mercados thousands of sugar skulls and coffins were sold which are used to decorate these altars.

It is a dying tradition just as many other traditions have been forgotten as we moved on and adapted to our American way of life and now celebrate Thanksgiving, which to my knowledge is not celebrated in Mexico instead.

A simple altar for some offerings.

But to some diehards such as ourselves certain traditions are always in our minds and in our own way we will still celebrate, so for this coming "Dia de los Muertos" (Day of the dead) we will get together and honor all of our dear departed by offering and eating some home made tamales, maybe some arroz con leche, water, and other essential goodies. It should be a nice celebration that will take us back to our roots and traditions.

This altar is a little bit more elaborate.

Dead should never mean forgotten, so this coming Tuesday take a moment to honor and remember those loved ones that have gone to that better place now.

*Images in this post borrowed from the Internet.

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