Dia de los Muertos~

November 1st & 2nd are days for remembering, respecting and honoring dead loved ones in Mexico, many Latin American countries, Spain and Hollerdom.

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The Holler is close to the border with Mexico and is blessed with a large Latin American population so the tradition has become familiar.
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Marking the Day of the Dead began in Aztec times and was able to survive the cultural suppression of the missionaries.
I admire cultures that remember and remain connected to their deceased ancestors.
In memory and respect for all our ancestors, and for those who honor them~

121 thoughts on “Dia de los Muertos~

    1. I also respect the custom in the South Pacific where relatives are buried in crypts by their family home. People discuss things with them when they are troubled. It seems like a way to ameliorate the sense of complete separation we have with the dead in the west.

  1. Growing up in Canada, we didn’t learn anything about Dia de los Muertos, so I enjoy learning about it piecemeal as an adult. 🙂 Those are fascinating sculptures and images. The Chinese have a similar, though less flamboyant, festival called Ching Ming where we go to our ancestors’ graves and tidy them up. We also bring food offerings that we end up eating. I remember doing that in Hong Kong with my relatives. It wasn’t a sad or scary holiday for us. 🙂

    1. I am so glad someone spoke up about Asian practices because I knew similar respectful days were set aside in certain Asian & African countries but I didn’t know any specifics. What you describe in Hong Kong is so similar to Latin America’s Day of the Dead, they visit relatives graves, tidy them, leave flowers and favorite foods, sometimes they leave a trail of food back to the house so the relative can visit if they wish. I think this incorporating of the deceased relatives spirit into the lives of their descendants is incredibly beautiful and the we in western cultures loose a lot by not doing this.

      1. I agree! Personally, I think if we changed Halloween to be more like Day of the Dead or Ching Ming, it would be a better thing. Candy and costume makers would not agree, however. LOL!

      2. Yes, I agree with you, Day of the Dead and Ching Ming seem to me to be far more meaningful and psychologically beneficial. Thank you for telling me about Ching Ming. I will google it now.

  2. I enjoyed the art in this piece, Cindy. Christians here in India visit the graves of their deceased loved ones on the Feast of All Souls. I’m Christian, but don’t have any graves to visit as my deceased family members are buried in the U.S. Interesting piece. 🙂

    1. Interesting isn’t it, how Christian practices expand to incorporate those cultural traditions that are especially rich and meaningful. I can’t even imagine a national holiday set aside in the US for people to visit, tidy, and pay respects to the graves of their relatives. It seems we are missing out.

  3. Dia de los Muertos and the art that springs from it is one of my favorite things about this time of year. And these images are so fun to look at – with the level of detail that goes into them. It’s wonderful to see that regardless of whether you travel or stay home Cindy, there’s something spectacular to see! ~Lynn

  4. Such vibrant colours. Mexicans here will be celebrating. In a quiet way, at home, we acknowledged All Souls Day, and remembered dear friends and family who have died.

    1. Yes. It is remarkable, uplifting and quite spiritual, to think of the similarities across countries and historical time, in the ceremonies different cultures engage in to honor their deceased loved ones. I just learned of Ching Ming from a blogging friend, which is remarkably similar to Dias de los Muertos. All Souls Day is another beautiful example. One can see a common spritual thread running through all of these tradtions and I think it is lovely.
      I must say All Souls Day is not emphasized as much in the US as it is in Europe and now as you are saying , in New Zealand. Failing to honor our deceased relatives seems to be a significant loss for those who don’t practice this. Death then becomes too powerful and too final.

    1. Yes! You hit the nail on the head. It doesn’t have to be dull, quiet, somber. There can be COLOR, life, noise, warmth, along with sadness, as one honors one’s ancestors. It is so wonderful to be exposed to other cultures because it expands one’s sense of the possible. Thank you for knowing this Graham. <3

  5. If a society does not honour its ancestors – and a lot of Anglo societies think it is wrong because it smacks of ancestor worship – then the result is that the young do not honour the old and childen do not respect their parents. And isn’t that sort of where we are now, in Australia and US and most of Europe.

    1. How well said! Yes. I can only speak on my knowledge of the mess in the US, and boy is it a mess! Honoring one’s ancestors provides continuity from generation to generation. Family doesn’t die, it remains. You can be sure that a person who does not honor or respect their dead ancestors, will not be honored or respected by their relatives when they die. So death becomes overly powerful, final, meaningless, and people forgotten. This is how it seems to be in the rational pragamatic west. If there is no respect for dead relatives, then why should there be for the living ones? Everything becomes about ME. NOW. THIS LIFE. It is a disrespectful way to live, and die.

  6. It’s sort of odd for the missionaries to have behaved in that way. If Christians can pray for the dead, why not celebrate the memory of them in a colourful way, too? Must share your post with my granddaughter. She loves skulls. For her 13th birthday, I gave her a black dress with florescent-pink skulls all over it. The present was a great hit!

    1. What a way cool grandmother! In the puritan Christian tradition, any sort of color, hoopala, or decoration was frowned upon. Remember they rejected the colorful cathedral decorations of Catholicism, which is why it is harder to take good photographs in many protestant churces! Maybe it is why we avoid color in our homes and communties too. One has to go to Italy, Spain, Latin America, to see vibrantly colored cities. It seems sometimes that focusing attention on the differences between protestant branches, and protestants and catholics, diverts attention from what is fundamentally important.

  7. Amazing show and great shots! BTW, yesterday I saw new James Bond and the first long and impressive scene was from Mexico and from this celebration but you probably know that…have a nice autumn. Bye. Kamila

    1. Yes, Dia de los Muertos is a catholic celebration as well with some aztec added in for spice. I wonder if in the Phillipines there is a cultural difference in All Souls Day ceremonies compared to European catholic countries. I bet there are cultural differences in the Filipino traditions even though they are predominantly catholic as in Latin America.

    1. Ja, sie sind gruselig, aber nicht bedeutete, furchtsam zu sein. Sie sind eine mexikanische Tradition an einem nationalen Feiertag zu Ehren der Toten. Mich darauf, in Deutschland nachste Woche! Beifall zu Ihnen Klaus .

  8. It makes me think of all the traditions that did not survive, and what were they actually replaced with….quite a loss really. As a white North American woman I find myself envious of the cultural richness of other cultures. Their celebrations, rituals and community involvement. Great post as always Cindy!!

  9. My Mom taught Spanish and liked the bright colors of Spain and Mexico. She emphasized at home, more as a joke, about All Saints Day. Why? Because it was her birthday and of course, mothers wish to be considered saints. 🙂
    Cindy, I like the beauty in remembrance and celebrating life which your examples express beautifully. The day of the dead emphasizes lives which have passed but left their marks, it seems to me. ♡

  10. Es una curiosa tradición mejicana. Aquí en España, la tradición lleva a poner flores en las tumbas de los seres queridos que se han ido, pero recientemente se está “importando” la costumbre americana de los disfraces y del “truco o trato”. Un abrazo, amiga.

  11. I too feel the same, cultures that remember and remain connected to their deceased ancestors is special (they have tomb cleaning day in China). And these photos of dia de muertos is a reminder of how I would like very much to see experience this in person myself. Beautiful.

  12. Wonderful post!
    It’s crazy how our forefathers felt the need to re-educate the Aztec descendants to their western ways. It is so disrespectful that any culture or religion tries to convert peoples of another ilk.

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