Happy Day of the Dead?!
Yep, that’s what it’s called in Mexico and Latin America, or “All Souls’ Day,” as it’s observed on Christian calendars.
This last day of Hallowtide is complete with rite and ritual—whatever you call it, it’s a day to acknowledge those who have passed on. It’s part honor, part prayer for the deceased with plenty of humor and celebration in the Mexican tradition. I love that.
What better way to keep the spirit of our loved ones alive than by inviting them back to the table, with favorite dishes, costumes, and funny anecdotes we best remember them by.
The rites and rituals of this day seem to be just as much for the pray-er as it is for the prayed for, as it’s an opportunity to let go of our fear of death and accept that our loved ones are in a good place.
And as for the notion that these departed souls might benefit from some assistance getting to the happy place in the sky…I would suspect trying to get someone out of any purgatory in an afterlife is not that different than trying to get someone else out of the purgatories they’ve created here on Earth. Quite simply, it’s on them to take that leap of faith forward. But hey, throwing a party, and singing and dancing as a show of belief in transcendence—all for it!
I was talking to a friend a few months back. He was staring down the barrel of a high-risk, but critical, medical procedure. He talked about how it would be irresponsible not to consider what might happen if things didn’t go well, and then we talked about what that really means. Some practical considerations to get in order—yes—but then beyond that, at some point, we cross over into rumination, and replaying our fears.
He went on to say that while he had no medical evidence to back it up, his gut told him if he stayed positive it would help the outcome. We decided that one thing was for sure, while he couldn’t entirely predict how his attitude would affect future outcomes, it sure was affecting the present moment. The dream of a positive outcome makes the here and now so much better. And so it goes with manifesting the future we want for all of us.
So, yeah, make it a great day for all souls’ mind, body, and spirit sake (including your own)!
Some traditional observances to consider:
>> Burn incense to support good health, yours and theirs.
>> Set up candles in the form of a cross honor the four cardinal directions.
>> The scent of marigolds or favorite flowers is used as decoration with the belief the scent helps loved ones find their way back to the celebration.
>> Offerings (ofrendas), which represent the four elements of earth (favorite foods), water for quenching thirst and movement, air (prayer flags), and fire (candles) are ways to honor the essence and true nature of our loved ones.
Have fun with it! I went yesterday to have two oil paintings of my deceased artist mom’s framed. It was such fun to talk to the shop owner about which ones she would like best. (I think she’d approve of my selections!) Tonight maybe I’ll have a martini during my parents’ sacred cocktail hour—and make my daughter wait to have dinner until 8 p.m.! I’ll also be honoring the Elixir of Elliott Delman Music—The Glory of Love!
Channel the highlights, spread the love, and the humor, of your loved ones’ lives! And guess what? I bet you’ll find yourself enjoying those elements and attributes once again! Who doesn’t like to resurrect the good old days?
Cheers to that!