Tuesday, October 25, 2005



Las Dias de los Muertos

Coinciding with the Halloween season is Mexico's Day of the Dead. The two day festival celebrates and remembers the ancesters who have passed away. As so many holidays, the festival was created by the pre-christian peoples and was co-opted by the Catholic Church in order to appease the masses who had celebrated the holiday for untold generations.

One observance includes the making of an alter in the home decorated with calaveras, which are stylized skeletons. Although alters vary with both decoration and content there are three basics. Water- to quench the thirst of the dead; Salt to season the food and for purifacation; and Bread to ease the hunger of the dead. The alter is set up to make the dead comfortable, if the deceased was a smoker then a pack of cigars or cigarettes are placed on the alter, if the deceased was a child then extra sweets will be added to the alter. Candles and Incense are burned so that the dead may be drawn to the alter.

Skulls and other ornaments are wrought in sugar and chocalate as tasty treats for the dead. Other observances include decorating the gravesite of relatives with elaborate colors and wreaths, a parade to the graveyard, and then an extended family reunion for the living and the dead to come together.

One reason for the holiday is due to the short amount of time for viewing of the deceased before burial back when embalming techniques were less than adaquate. The holiday allows family members a day of remembrance in the fall for those who have passed in the year before. The legend of the actual holiday goes back to the pre-hispanic peoples of Mexico who believed in three different kinds of death. The first type of death was when bodies cease to functon and the heart no longer beats of it's own accord, when our gaze no longer holds weight or meaning and the space we occupy slowly loses all of it's meaning. The second death is when the body is lowered into the ground and is returned to mother earth out of sight. The third and most definative death is when there is no one left to remember us.

11 comments:

Crazy Dan said...

Gee thanks for the spanish lesson.

:P fuzzbox said...

Your welcome smartass. Seriously the post doesn't sound like my usual bullshit at all but I find it neat that their culture doesn't feel horrified by death like ours but embraces it. It just sounds like a healthier attitude to me.

Laurie said...

wow.. i never knew all that.

it's kind of cool how they celebrate death, because though it's a sad time for those left behind, it's a new beginning for the deceased. they understand that.

cool post.

Reiki said...

Fuxx, I know that everyone is tired of hearing me bitch and moan about my house, but I just wanted to let you know how desperate I am to get out of this place. Our home is full of toxic fucking mold. We had the moldy parts removed and replaced, but there is no true way to get rid of it...the spores go everywhere. We tried to get the builder to take responsibility for installing the shower base incorrectly, which caused the shower to leak from day one that we lived in the house. The toxic mold has caused serious autoimmune health problems for several members of my family and we have to get out before it actually kills us. Of course I feel horrible for dumping our toxic shit on someone else, but we have to get out...we have a baby and young kids living here. We consulted attorney after attorney & nobody would help us. So this is our only alternative...I just don't really want a written record of the mold issue on my own site, but wanted you to understand that every showing is literally life or death & that is why I am so distraught...

:P fuzzbox said...

Sorry if it seemed that I was making light of your problem. I did not realize the problem was so serious. Good luck to you and yours, I hope everything works out for you.

Reiki said...

my comment wasn't aimed at you specifically..I enjoy everyone's smart ass comments./ I just wanted everyone to know why selling the shit hole is so important...not just so we can buy a bigger house on the lake or something stupid...

:P fuzzbox said...

laurie: thanks for your comment, since it wasn't my usual post. I wondered what people would think. I'm glad that you liked it.

T said...

Jane - It is no damn wonder you want out of that place so bad. I really dont know what else to say other than wish you the best of luck in getting the hell out of there. Those kids decrtainly dont need to be around that. Take care Jane and hang in there. Things have to turn around for you soon.

T said...

Wow that was one hell of a typo. That screwed up bullshit should have been "certainly".

Crazy Dan said...

T you are sounding like an asssucking pirate. Is this for halloween or a new profession?

Johnny Wadd said...

Having been breifly married to a mexican girl for awhile i noticed that they seem to have alot of holidays. Every time you turn around they have a day off or festival for something.