Friday, October 31, 2008

Day of the Dead Voyage

"Dia de los Muertos" is a holiday celebrated primarily in Mexico but also in Hispanic and African communities worldwide. Families honor memories of their departed with music, costumes, festively decorated sugar skulls, and altars to the dead with many candles. Families visit graves to leave the favorite foods and drinks of their departed. Loved ones are celebrated with stories, feasts, dancing, iconic skeletons, and always with good humor.

These ceremonies date back 3,000 years and began as a celebration of death as a voyage to a higher plane by the pre-Hispanic Olmecs & Zapotecs. The Aztecs celebrated for an entire month, honoring their goddess of death. The modern celebration occurs on the 1st and 2nd of November, fusing the pre-Hispanic celebration with two Catholic holidays - All Saint's Day & All Souls' Day. In Brazil it's a public holiday and Spain holds parades and festivals. If you'd like to participate in Dia de los Muertos ceremonies, there are several villages in Mexico with colorful celebrations worth attending.

My Grandmother departed this month, joining my Grandfather who passed four years ago this week. I will be toasting to their memories tomorrow. Rita & Ray, you are saints in my book!

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