Dias de Muertos, Days of the Dead

Celebration and honoring of the dead

If you are not familiar with the term “Dia de Muertos” in translates in English to Day of the Dead.

In Spanish and Native American tradition, as well as in others, it is time to honor the beloved dead with altars “offrendras” flowers, family get togethers and food.

Day of Dead 1

Dias de Muertos – Ofrenda

I decided to visit a locally owned Hispanic restaurant and market because they were giving talks about the celebration and the tradition behind it.  I was told that many believe in honoring the memories of their family that have died and they believe in celebrating a life.  I LOVE the celebration of life and so I have embraced the tradition myself.  Following my time of mourning I wanted to find ways to honor the memories of those I have loved and lost.  I often do this throughout the year such as on holidays as well as anniversaries of the death.

The Spanish tradition is celebrated October 31st through November 2nd and it coincides with the Christian celebration of All Saints Day.

Day of Dead 2 offerings

Alter or Ofrenda

Here is a picture of the alter or “ofrenda” that was set-up to honor the father of someone in the restaurant.  They often use symbols to represent water, fire(candles), air (billowing paper) and earth (marigold flowers)  and the favorite foods such as the breads shown here and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts. They also leave possessions of the deceased on the alter again as a memorial to them.

I rather like this celebration and would like to see more people embrace the idea of celebrating a life rather than such somber mourning.  Mourning is part of the grieving process and we must all walk through that as well – so I wonder, how many of you would embrace the idea of “Dias de Muertos?”  I’d love your comments below.

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