Dia de los Muertos: A Celebration of Death & Life Together

As we near el Dia de los Muertos, I find myself reflecting on those I have lost over the years. I have lost many to death. Some were close, some not; many were relatives, some friends. All represent a place in my heart. All deserve a moment of memory. Perhaps this is why the Day of the Dead is so very special to me. Often it seems as if I have lost more that I loved than those who are still living…from that perspective a day doesn’t seem enough. I think that this day, when the dead are said to revisit us, also appeals to my sense of fantasy. The thought of those lost returning, to be celebrated, honored, and remembered…doesn’t strike me in the ghost-haunting way, rather is oddly comforting.

The other part of Dia de los Muertos is the mockery of death; this also appeals to me for very different reasons. Day of the Dead celebrations were so popular throughout Mexico historically because they were felt to represent the great equalizer of the extremely stratified social class structure in that country. On this day, we are truly ALL the same:

We have lost loved ones to death.

We will one day die…and are in fact currently “cheating” death now.

When our death comes, we will be EXACTLY ALIKE…A SLELETON.

Beautifully poetic, when you think about it; a kind of morbid way of feeling connected to all people.

Death is the great equalizer.

And yet on this DAY we can all laugh and celebrate together knowing that while we carry death within us (our skeleton)…we are…ALIVE!

I love the dialectic of this (of course)…the fact that we share the cycle of existence commonly rings true to me…(life and death). And I appreciate both states equally. As I walk with death, I appreciate life, and I invite you to do the same. It is a surprisingly liberating!



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