Friday, November 02, 2007

Friday Destination Dreaming # 20

Okay. I don't know what has gotten into me, but all of a sudden I have time, energy, and creativity to spare on this blog. It's happening all at once, sort of like vigorous house-cleaning right before you go into labor.
Today is my birthday, and also a holiday - All Soul's Day. Most people in the U.S. don't celebrate All Soul's Day, which is preceded by All Saint's Day, and is part of a collective "Day of the Dead" celebration. In the States, November 2nd is more often remembered as election day (every 4 years), which has brought me some grief in the recent past. 2004 sucked!
This time of year is usually so jam-packed, especially with Halloween celebration, that there is little time for me to participate in the "Day of the Dead" holiday, despite finding it extremely interesting.

November 1st and 2nd are important days in limited countries around-the-world, but especially in Mexico, where the origin of "Dia De Los Muertos" is credited. It is a time to honor the deceased, remembering those loved ones who have passed into a different 'sphere', and there are a series of rituals that are conducted to show respect. The preparation is elaborate with altars of food, flowers (usually marigolds), water, blowing tissue paper, incense and candles, representing the elements of earth, water, wind and fire, set up in people's homes and at burial sites. Families visit cemeteries to decorate the graves of loved ones and hold vigilance throughout the night. There are costumed parades that are held in city squares and small village streets, with lots of candles, skeleton costumes, dancing and theatrics mocking death. The most famous iconography are the skeletons, seen in miniature, on masks, as puppets, etc. dressed and performing activities like the living. There are also offerings of sugar skulls with icing details (calaveras) and whirled and rolled egg bread.

Although I am happy to be in Portland, I enjoy the fantasy of twitching my nose, and teleporting to Oaxaca, Mexico in this very instant. Vivan los muertos!


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