In college I wrote a paper – a rather long one if I remember correctly – on Dia de los Muertos. I am not sure what really peaked my interest in this specific holiday, except that I had spent some time in Mexico, and I had always had a fascination with festivals in other cultures. I found the celebrations around this holiday intriguing. It was not Halloween, yet it was just a few days from Halloween, and the festivities began at midnight on Halloween. The idea that the spirits of the deceased can come down and “be” with their loved ones for a few days each year is something that, over the years, I have come to appreciate, and it has given me a sense of peace. However it was not until this year that I truly came to have a deeper appreciation for the holiday and the deep beliefs that people have instilled in this festival.
Death unfortunately opened the door to our family and friends in late December 2016, and left devastation in its trail. We are all still recovering from the visit – or visits – as that would be more appropriate. Death does not discriminate. Young, old, male, female, sick, healthy. It shows up, and wrecks havoc and destruction. Along with death can also come relief and peace. I have experienced all of these over the past few months.
But today is Dia de los Muertos – The Day of the Dead. The dead come back and reunite with their loved ones. I had always loved the idea of this particular holiday, but I never really felt very connected to it until now. There is a celebration of death in the most memorable way. It takes away some of the pain. What was once sharp is a bit more dull. No, it will never go away, but it offers an opportunity to honor those who have died, and to remember and honor is significant.