Celebrating the dead
The end of October and beginning of November is a time of reflection about the dead – and ultimately the meaning of life.
In many European countries, people visit the graves of their loved ones and light candles in remembrance of them.
Other parts of the world celebrate more exuberantly. Take my birthplace, Mexico, for example.
Last week, we visited the Museum of Ethnography – a museum whose mission is to help us broaden our perspective of the world.
There was an exhibition celebrating Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).
This celebration is thousands of years old: originating from the Aztec times, it has adapted and mixed with Catholic traditions so that you can find altars in people’s homes, laden down with offerings, skeletons, photos of the dead and crosses.
One popular figure is La Calavera Catrina (the elegant skull), which depicts an upper class lady, and serves as a reminder that even though we might have pretensions of importance due to riches or class, death is the great equalizer.
The living make exotic skulls out of sugar and in some places in Mexico, they have joyous picnics at the gravesides of the departed.
I like the idea of remembering people who gave meaning to your life while feasting and laughing and remembering the good times with them. After all, this is probably the best way of helping their memory live on.
“Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell and when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.” — Saroyan
For more traditions, please visit: My World.