This week I’m not sharing a quote – instead, I wanted to give you a little “history lesson” about a beautiful celebration I just love. It’s called Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead.
It dates back 3000 years and takes place over 3 days – October 31 – November 2. On these three days, the dead come back to visit and are celebrated. The basic idea is that life is a dream, and only in death do you become truly awake. So death is actually this huge honor, and on these three days, the dead come back to visit with their families.
On October 31, the spirits of deceased children come back to spend 24 hours with their families. Then, on November 2, the spirits of deceased adults come down to join the celebration.
There are decorations, toys, flowers, music, picnics – and lots of sugar! People wear wooden skull masks and dance in honor of deceased relatives. Colors mean a lot, too – red is the blood in our human lives; orange is sun; yellow represents death; purple is grief & pain for the deceased; pink is hope & celebration; white is purity; and black represents the land of death.
It’s supposed to be a bright & happy time, where you are celebrating your loved ones’ lives. Yes, you are grieving, of course – but this is a different approach than most places. Instead of focusing on the grief, you are looking at how wonderful their lives were. Just because people celebrate this holiday doesn’t mean they don’t miss them; but it’s celebrating life and reminiscing.
I really wish more people did this. It’s such a beautiful ritual. I just wish I could see it in more places. So even though it’s past for this year, maybe just take a couple minutes today to reminisce about somebody who’s no longer here, wear a color that means something to you, celebrate the lives that have been lost. Don’t be sad – just be thankful that they touched us and I guess that they are truly awake.