Day of the Dead

Day of the Dead – Día de los Fieles Difuntos 

 Day of the Dead b By Dorothy Bell

Photography by Bill and Dorothy Bell

“I think I would like to be buried in Mexico next to a big family. That way I would hear mariachis and laughter. I would hear sweet whispers of respect and smell the candles, marigolds and incense.  I would be fed delicious foods and drink the best of tequilas. I would hear stories of people I wish I had known.”

Day of the Dead and Halloween have only skeletons in common. What is meant to scare in the US and Canada has a significantly different interpretation in Mexico. The Day is not for sorrow, but for remembering and respecting the departed.

Many believe a 3000 year old Aztec ritual that was originally celebrated in August dedicated to Mictecacihuatl “Lady of the Dead” and Queen of the Underworld. The festivities were celebrated for a month and after the conquest, remained a persistent celebration much to the chagrin of the Spanish who considered the practice pagan and sacrilegious. So with a “if you can’t beat them join them” attitude the celebration was moved to the beginning of November to coincide with the Catholic All Saints and All Souls Day.

CatrinaMictecacihuatl has relatively been reborn so to speak and recently morphed into Katrina, the “elegant one” the popular female skeleton Image with a wide brim hat. She was created in 1913 by Mexican printmaker José Guadalupe Posada and later replicated and made popular by famed Mexican muralist Diego Riviera in his mural “Dream of a Sunday in Alameda Park.” Katrina, the rich upper class lady does not escape death; it comes to all of us, the rich and poor.

day of the dead cDeath, the great equalizer; a natural part of our existence. This is Day of the Dead. Not to be feared by children or commercialized by Hallmark. It is a time to honor the life and passage of loved ones.

 

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