Thursday, November 4, 2021

Día de Muertos (Eleanor, Jewel, and José)

Día de Muertos, the Mexican Day of the Dead, ran from October 31st to November 2nd this year. This has given me the opportunity to create separate posts for Halloween and Día de Muertos, so I can highlight both holidays. They both take place during late October, but the Day of the Dead is explicitly about honoring our deceased relatives, loved ones, and ancestors. Last Tuesday, José told me about his Día de Muertos celebration, including telling his granddaughter Sofia the story of how he'd met her grandmother Maria. Today's blog post is all about our older buds' experiences with Día de Muertos.

Eleanor Kazdan


Día de los Muertos

When we were in Mexico, we were there in February, I tried to book a reservation for Dia de los Muertos with some friends of ours and every hotel in Oaxaca was booked solid, 6 months in advance. So now I could go but, yeah.

Jewel Grace


The Day of the Dead 

I like the Day of the Dead, a Mexican-based festival honoring the ancestors with music, dance, and fancy altars. I used to attend the festival at U of P Archaeological Museum. There, we made sugar skulls (and ate them), listened and saw music and dancing, All Souls Day style. There was this vendors table from which I have purchased a backpack, a mobile, and lots of earrings. I'm skipping the festival this year. I have plenty of jewelry and a vivid memory of the festivities. My house is decorated in Day of the Dead signs and decor, as well as a pumpkin on the door and a skeleton on the stairs. Even though I have no children, I enjoy Day of the Dead and Halloween as well. Maybe I'll prepare a festive dinner. Anyone game?

José Dominguez


A Meaning of Dia de Los Muertos To Me

I have a lot of things to celebrate here in the US and added to that, the Mexican holidays. The positive thing is that celebrations are something I enjoy, but what to celebrate of Dia de Los Muertos? It had no sense for me, even when I did a lot of trips in Mexico to the cemetery to take flowers to my dear father, relatives, and friends. I never understood how my deaths were going to enjoy my flowers and my presence in the cemetery. The same goes for the confection of altars that are a strong tradition that motivates the ornamentation of house altars with flowers, candies, candles, pictures, sugar skulls, food, and religious paraphernalia. But last year, my feeling about the celebration changed. Poncho, my son, put two tables in the living room, covered them with a lace tablecloth. He arranged to put several levels so it looked like the steps of a stair. In each step, he put photos of our family deaths including one of Maria, my dear wife who passed away 2 years ago and several photos of dead people of Sasha's family. All the space was covered by flowers, candles, and the usual. The big difference was when it was the second before dinner, Sasha (daughter-in-law) lighted the candles and turned off the lights, she invited us to make a semicircle around the altar and took Sophia (my granddaughter) into her arms. She explained to her how we are a family thanks to those who died and took care of us, and how they are not dead, but are alive in our hearts. Sofia smiled and said: Thank you grandma, Maria. I love you and you are with me in my head.

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And don't forget to maintain contact with the older buds in your life. If you can't be there in person, please call them, email them, or message them on social media. And if they're using teleconferencing or remote events for the first time, give them a call and help them set things up. Check in on them to see how well they're getting used to these programs. Buy them a computer or an internet package if they don't have one of their own. It's a human right, after all.

Curated by Caitlin Cieri