Saturday, October 31, 2009

Day of the Dead...What's it all about, anyway?

Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico are celebrated in conjunction with two Catholic Holidays, All Saints Day on November 1 and All Souls Day on November 2.

While the holiday has Pre-Hispanic roots, it's currently celebrated as a way to remember loved ones who have passed on, as well as spend time with the ones still here.  In practical terms, it is also an opportunity for families to give annual maintenance and a good cleaning to the family grave sites.

In addition to attending to the graves, families often build altars in their homes that commemorate loved ones and ancestors that have passed on.  Flowers, photos, candles, favorite foods and drinks, and incense are place on the decorated tables for souls to enjoy.

In some areas, particularly rural ones, it is believed that the souls actually return and bring fortune, or misfortune, for not being respected properly.

What an excellent way to teach children about their ancestors and family, respect for their heritage, and to keep the family story going!  The kids and I are going to take some time on Sunday to talk about our family history and those who still bless us with their presence and those we remember fondly. 

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