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Dia de los Muertos

November 1, 2014

Feliz Dia de los Muertos, babes! This is a very important day (or couple of days) wherein many cultures around the world, as the holiday’s name suggests, celebrate the memories and lives of their deceased loved ones. Specifically Mexican in origin and aesthetic, the entire world has begun to embrace this holiday for both the flamboyant and beautiful decor it is associated with, and for its festive approach to celebrating the dead.

If you grew up in a Roman Catholic household like I did, this process has nothing to do with colorful flowers and building shrines. But, shouldn’t it?

I’ve blogged about this a few times in the past, how in recent years I’ve felt closer to this idea of celebration in place of mourning (or a healthy combination of the two) when approaching the topic of death. It seems like a healthy way to process the pain of losing someone, with the potential to not only receive “closure”, but to keep the happiest memories alive, and keep your loved ones close to you.

When I imagine my own death, and the people I love remembering me, I would far prefer to see beautiful colors, flowers, candles, decor and amazing food than a somber procession of any kind. I would prefer my memorial to reflect my life in terms of festivity and beauty. That said, Dia da los Muertos makes a lot of sense to me.

With a recent death in my own family, I am ruminating over these existential, emotional concepts even more intensely.

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While Pinterest boards full of girls in face paint and cookies shaped like skulls are addicting to look at, the literal, morbid interpretation of death in this holiday is something I find truly beautiful. It is quintessentially Mexican in artistic style, but massively appealing to people of all backgrounds, both visually and emotionally.

It’s like a complex rose-colored lens through which to view the final phase in life, wherein that final phase actually extends into eternity. And how beautiful is that?

Even if you don’t necessarily celebrate this holiday, I encourage you to rethink the way you deal with death (and life) in your own minds during the next 48 hours. Think about ways to reconnect with the people you’ve lost. You might just find that a kind of peace you didn’t know you were capable of achieving.

Here’s to all of your loved ones, in the waking life and afterlife. Maybe we occupy the same terrain more often than we think…?

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. November 1, 2014 9:47 PM

    My mother and I share a birthday of 10/30. Today I went to my first Dia de los Muertos festival and thought how much my mom would have loved it. My post ended up making it sound like a sad thing, I think, when the truth is if was … welcoming. Alive. I think more of my tears were of joy at being able to share the experience of remembering than for loss, but it’s hard to articulate so new to experiencing it!

    • November 3, 2014 7:05 PM

      Thanks for sharing that experience, Deborah. I agree with the idea of these celebrations feeling alive despite the topic being death. But it makes sense, because death is a part of life! Sending good vibes your way.

  2. September 17, 2015 5:39 PM

    That’s what Dia de los Muertos is all about- remembering your loved ones! Here in Mexico, it’s a very special holiday, and many people still keep this ancient tradition. I’m happy to see that people from all the world like and appreciate it :)

    • September 17, 2015 6:33 PM

      Thanks so much for your comment, Fabiola! I really do love this holiday and I hope to bring some elements of it into my own family traditions. I think it’s so important to celebrate loved ones who have passed away. Also, I love your blog! It’s so full of amazing info and beautiful photos. Let’s keep in touch. :) I just launched a new website as well, about travel and creative living: http://dayjoboptional.com xo

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