The Day of the Dead (or Dia de los Muertos) is a very unique holiday. It originated in Mexico and is widely celebrated in Latin America and the United States. Call me clueless, but I never knew anything about this holiday – I don’t think it made it to the list of celebrations from around the world that we studied in grade 4.
I did find myself intrigued by the growing popularity of sugar skull designs and make-up, though. They were popping up everywhere: on screen printed clothing and party supplies, on my Facebook newsfeed, and most notably on Pinterest Halloween costume boards.
For years I wondered: what is this absurd, beautiful, morbid trend with skeletons that’s on the rise?
It wasn’t until I recently watched the movie The Book of Life that I learned what all of this was about. Yes, it’s a children’s movie. But it’s incredible, and you should really watch it if you haven’t yet! You can find it on Netflix right now, which is a bonus. I have decided that it is going to be a part of my annual Halloween tradition – maybe it’ll become part of yours, too?
Making it More
Adding it to my list of things to do leading up to Halloween did get me thinking – can I make it more than just an item to check off my annual list?
It should be more than that.
Why hasn’t this The Day of the Dead made it’s way up to Canada in a more concrete way? Why is it limited to trendy Halloween party decor and elaborate face paint?
The foundation of this holiday is a thing of beauty that’ll certainly tug at your heart strings. It celebrates the lives of loved ones passed. It shines a cheerful light on a topic that is typically shrouded in fear and grief. It gives people the opportunity to remember the uniqueness of others and their contribution to their lives. It gives them the chance to make joyful memories with those that are still here. The symbolism is astounding.
I want to be sure that the tradition is not limited to an hour and a half movie while I eat a bag of chips (or loads of mini-sized candy bars, or a box of jalapeno poppers…). Although I enjoy doing movie nights (especially the food part), I want this to be special. I want to honour my loved ones, and share stories, and be thankful. I want to celebrate The Day of the Dead.
Here’s what I’m thinking this new annual tradition calls for: a visit to the cemetery, indulging in family favourite recipes and heritage treats, perusing family photo albums, and asking others to share funny memories of those who’ve moved on from this life.
So tell me, what do you think about The Day of the Dead? Would you consider adding it to your list of annual celebrations and to celebrate it in a meaningful way? Do you already?