It is what it is
Let’s face it: we’re all going to leave this world someday. It’s a hard true, but it’s the truth. How we see death and what may be -if there’s something- after that, makes the entire difference.
I grew up thinking that my great-grandmother was this super cool lady who was full of life and vibrant colors, a lady who enjoyed tequila and good food.
Did I ever met her? No.
How do I know then?
Because of the “altar” my aunts set every year for her on the Day of the Dead.
I will not enter into details of the celebration because It’d be really long, but if you want to read more about it -which is totally worth it-, just click here.
What I will definitely -try to- explain, is the meaning itself of day of the dead. First of all, I need to take the elephant out of the room by saying that even though is so close to halloween, it has NOTHING to do with it.
Now I can explain myself better.
Day of the Dead
Mexicans take everything with humor, even death. No, we don’t make fun of it, we just accept it as something natural and try to make it a lot more bearable. That’s why, on November 1st and 2nd, we honor our dead. We make an “altar”, we put a photograph of the person we want to remember and we also put their favorite food. We make decorations with paper and flowers. For centuries, we have believed that our dead relatives come for that day and spend time with us, their family. It’s a way to remember and to be remembered. In my family, for example, we put my grandparents and great-grandma pictures. I don’t believe my dad’s father ever got to know my mom’s grandmother when they were alive, but I like to think that they get along very well now.
It’s a celebration for them, for what they taught us, for what they did. It’s a way to tell them “we’re fine and you’re missed. You’re part of us and you’ll always be”.
Day of the Dead is about sugar skulls and all kind of smells, is about feeling like you’re living a bit more, to compensate the life they left behind.
Do they actually come to celebrate?? I haven’t found a single reason why they shouldn’t come down…..
Next year, I’ll make an altar for my grandparents and great-grandma, here, in Turku.
They’ll love Europe.
Note: Maybe Disney explained it better with their recent movie “Coco”. A really great movie who captivated the truly sense of the celebration.
“When there’s no one left in the living world who remembers you, you disappear from this world”.
And who doesn’t want to be remembered?