This past week has been full of bumps in the road for me. Sometimes, life’s like that though. When it started raining yesterday, I decided to take my dog to the park and play in the rain with him. Call me crazy, but it was one of the most liberating experiences. Maybe it’s because I’m a Pisces…
Anyways, here’s some information on the moon tonight!
Be sure to check the sky tonight, full moons are incredible!
Día de los Muertos
Death. No one likes talking about it. What if instead of talking about it, we simply celebrated the lives lived by those no longer with us?
Día de los Muertos, AKA Day of the Dead, is not a Mexican Halloween. While the central theme is death, it’s about celebrating and showing respect for deceased loved ones and ancestors. The holiday originated with the Nahuas (native people of Mexico) , who believed mourning death was disrespectful because it was a natural phase in life’s continuum. They preferred to keep the dead as members of the community through memory, spirit, and of course through Día de los Muertos, the day the spirits returned to Earth. It is celebrated yearly on the first two days of November in cities all over Mexico, although some cities stretch their celebrations for a whole week!
To encourage the spirits to come back, they create huge altars filled with a variety of offerings. Some of these altars take months to build and perfect for the big day. Common things found on the altars are:
- Mexican marigold flowers- believed to guide wandering souls back to the living world.
- Water to quench the spirit’s thirst after the long journey back to the living world and food to fill their empty tummies.
- If the spirit is a child, you might see some toys. If the spirit is an adult, you may see cigarettes, alcohol, and/or their favorite meal.
- Personal belongings- family photos, old clothes, heirlooms.
- One candle for every spirit returning
To me, the most interesting parts of the altars are the sugar skulls and calacas (the skeleton figurines). In ancient Mexican cities, skulls were used as offerings to the god of the underworld. It was said to ensure safe passage of the deceased from the world of the living to the world of the spirits. It makes sense that they would continue this tradition to bring the spirits from the underworld into the living world. You may be wondering why they make sugar skulls so colorful and bright…well, everything about Día de los Muertos is colorful and bright. Some colors represent certain things, though. For example, red represents blood, orange represents the sun, yellow represents the Mexican marigold, pink and white are celebration, and black represents the Land of the Dead.
Last but not least, the calacas (the skeleton figures). Mexicans believe that every soul should be remembered as a happy one. Calacas play instruments, dance, and are represented in other happy encounters. While these can be found in Mexican cities all year round, they line the streets and altars during Día de los Muertos.
All calacas shown in slideshow are available in store.
While every city builds altars, not every city celebrates in the same way. Some prefer to celebrate in the privacy of their own homes while others have huge parades and decorate the graves of loved ones. One city, Pátzcuaro, chooses to celebrate by canoeing to a small island and having an all night vigil in an indigenous cemetery.
I like to think I celebrate my deceased loved ones in little ways every day. And that they’re in my heart every step of the way. Remembering what they taught me when times get tough, feel them when I think about them, and way too easily getting caught up in the memories. How do you remember those who passed?
This week Lil’ Grizzly takes the stage for Food Truck Thursday! Let’s hope the skies bless us with another beautiful fall night. Details about the event are here.
As always, thanks for reading and I will see you next week!
Coming next Tuesday: Lighting up the Night