The Day of the Dead is one of my most favorite holidays.  It’s a celebration acknowledging the seasonal nature of human life, how nobody is getting out of embodiment alive, so to speak.  🙂  Instead of seeing this as a tragedy, as something to mourn and be afraid of or fight against which steals what time remains and taints the quality of life, this holiday celebrates life in the face of death.  Hence all the decorations which have skeleton and skull motifs decorated in bright colors doing normal human activities of all varieties.  Death is among us but this is completely normal and natural and so what?  Live now and enjoy.  Death will come to all of us in the end.

At the same time, because this is true and because this time of year is when the season turns inward and we are able to hear those around us who are not embodied, the Day of the Dead is a celebration of those who have gone before us.  It’s a festival of continued relationship with the ancestors, those we have known and loved as well as those of our ancestors we have never met.  Just because they are no longer here doesn’t mean the relationship ends or that we can’t continue to enjoy it. Therefore on the Day of the Dead families go to the gravesites of their ancestors and loved ones, clear and clean them, then prepare a party which will go on all night.  Candles and favorite foods, party decorations and good music, people telling stories and remembering and sharing, all with the object of inviting the departed to come and participate, to share and be loved or at least honored.  (If they weren’t loved while they were here it would be hypocritical to somehow love them afterwards. Lying to the dead is just a bit silly and alla that).

Here are some resources to find out more and to explore how you might celebrate the day, your life, and the lives that gave you life.

Celebrate the Day of the Dead

What Wikipedia has to say about it

Videos and history and activities all in one place