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Maya Monthly November 2014

Nov 11, 2014

Day of the dead – it’s more than just one day in Mexico and maybe it ought to be every day of the year! The least I can do is to dedicate November’s Maya Monthly to that special day.


What might surprise you is that the day is actually three days – and each of those three days is for a different group – first the children who have died, then the family members and then all the faithful departed. We have special foods, parades, flowers and plays each of those days.


2014 November

My altarcito…which is really two walls!

I decided to take part in the Camino de las Animas this year – a procession which winds its way from the center of the city to the big cementerio at the edge of town. I had heard this was quite the event so I arrived early – so early that no one was there. I ‘m not even sure the dead people had arrived yet. So I came back home where I finished setting up my own altarcito…which includes pictures, flowers, and favorite foods of my deceased friends and family. 


Not to be deterred, I returned a few hours later to the center of town. Of course there were no places to park and I was beginning to think I would end up in the cemetery for good if I had to walk much more.


There were thousands and thousands of live people, walking and talking and eating and enjoying, yes enjoying the event. I wish we could do that every day of our lives.


It’s now November 11th. The flowers on my altarcito are getting smelly. The pictures are beginning to fall off the wall. I am tempted to put everyone away for another year. When she saw her picture next to that of my recently departed brother in law, my sister screamed: “What am I doing on your wall? Take me down!”


If you look closely I am on “the wall” too!” I do that to remind myself that someday, probably sooner than I would like to admit, I too will be dead!


I don’t want to forget, and I hope you don’t either – I hope we don’t forget the people who have helped us become who we are. I hope we can learn to celebrate not only the living but also the deceased. I hope we can experience each person with joy and compassion, hope and love. While they are still living and even when they have died.


If you have forgotten those special people, remember them again.


The people of Mexico have taught me that i don’t need to be sad or depressed with death. It is an hecho…a reality. Since the time of the Maya, they have remembered and celebrated. They don’t know exactly what life will be like after death. Neither do we. Let’s face it.   It remains a mystery. Just like God. A mystery to celebrate!


Come to think of it, we are all mysteries – mysteries to be discovered. Thanks. Let’s celebrate together and make this world a better place.


Paz y amor.



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