Friday, November 2, 2007

Dia De Los Muertos

Today and yesterday was Dia de los Muertos the Mexican holiday where the dead come back to visit their loved ones. It is traditionally a happy holiday, one to honor and remember your dead.

Over the years, Mr. G and I have made an altar or ofrenda usually for my grandma and his grandpa. Last year, of course, included M. We didn't make one this year, I am trying hard not to feel guilty about that. For some reason, I just couldn't get it together enough. I have certain days I like to light a candle for M and this holiday is one. I love the idea that it is a celebration, and not a mourning period. One day, I think today, is generally set aside for children, and it is traditional to put candy on the altar. My favorite part of the altars are the papel picado, where designs are cut out of brightly colored paper. I never knew how to do it, until this year, when I found a book on it at the library. I can't wait to make some for next year.

It is also part of the tradition to make
I shouldn't feel guilty for not getting my stuff together and making an altar. After all, I believe M knows he is in my heart and thoughts everyday of the year. But it is nice to have tradition and ritual to include him in, since I can't make his presence felt to the outside world on a day to day basis.

Next year, I'll make a grand altar.


niobe said...

What a wonderful ritual. And the cut-paper design is just stunning. I can't imagine how you can possibly cut out something that complex.

I know that, for me, anyway, sometimes the effort that it takes to go through with a tradition, especially a complex one, just seems overwhelming. It's often not just the physical work, but the emotions that I know it will evoke that make it seem so hard. Sometimes it helps if I can get a friend or family member to work with me.

Try not to be too hard on yourself. As you say, M knows he's in your heart and thoughts. I look forward to seeing your altar next year.

Monica H said...

I think that this post and all the thoughts and efforts that have gone into remembering M are special. In your own way everyday, you honor him and just because you don't have an alter this year doesn't mean you should feel guilty. Light a candle, make some bread (but save a slice for me :))and remember him.

I, too, look forward to seeing you alter next year- no pressure.

meg said...

I have been fascinated by this tradition, ever since the loss of the twins ended up being the same day.

I can't wait to see your altar next year. Maybe I'll make one myself.