One of my favorite holidays is right around the corner. No, not Halloween, but the holiday that comes just 2 days later. November 2nd is Dia De Los Muertos or Day of the Dead. Yes I know it sounds like a bad horror film title.
Just a brief overview of Dia de los Muertos. It is Mexican holiday where the dead are celebrated. Families spend days preparing an altar in their homes. The altars are decorated with photos of families and loved ones who have passed away. They place favorite things and foods around the altar. In Mexico there are day long celebrations at cemetery's.
The key word here is CELEBRATION. Death is a part of life and as much as I wish I could shield my kids from the idea of death, I can't. When a death effects your family you have to find a way to help your kids deal with it. Dia de los Muertos is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the lives of the loved ones who are gone. Instead of being constantly sad about death and what it has taken from us, it is a beautiful way to remember what those people brought and still bring to your life.
The day is filled with candles, altars, marigold flowers, and painted faces. Every year we paint our kids face and head to a huge Dia de los Muertos celebration. We write down our cousin's name and add it to a big community altar. We remember his life and the love and happiness he brought us in his short 19 years. And because it is what we believe, we thank him for watching over us from heaven. We kiss him name, and let our daughter place his name on the altar. It is our way of celebrating him a little bit more than we already do. It is a way for our kids to see that even after death, our family is loved and missed and celebrated.
You can celebrate Dia de los Muertos at home. It is as simple as setting up a table to be your altar. Display photos of your loved one who have died. Then add some mementos, favorite foods and drinks of the deceased. Then spend some time remembering your loved ones. Tell funny stories and share memories.
Remember the key word is CELEBRATE!