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Dia de los Muertos

I had a good one. Since Steve's dad died in January, I figured this was the year to really observe.

I started by going to church Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. Even the church I attend, St Patrick's had a Muertos altar there.

I'd cleaned my home altar and put down a black pashmina scarf (gift of Mr. patgund when he lived in Qatar) with autumn-coloured paisleys down. Instead of photos, I decided to use items this year; Grandma's wooden spoon, Grandpa's pewter mug that says DAD, MIL's nursing pins and a pistol tie bar and German Shorthaired Pointer keychain of FIL's. I didn't have anything to represent my maternal grandfather except a table he made which stayed in the living room.

Dinner was enchiladas mole and rice and beans. I poured a sweet white wine for Grandma (awful, but that's what she likes) and a Miller for Steve's parents. Steve's mom would gripe about it not being Miller Lite, so I served carrot cake for dessert. We turned on the TV because Steve's dad would want to see the election results.

No particularly interesting manifestations, but I don't need them. We still felt close to our family members who have passed on.

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
hagazusa
Nov. 4th, 2010 09:23 pm (UTC)
Sounds lovely!
gorski
Nov. 4th, 2010 10:30 pm (UTC)
you know, I've heard a bit about the observation of Dia de los Muertos, heard that there's usually an altar with some sort of mementos constructed, and I've even had some tasty aniseed bread that some of the hispanic community was selling after Mass one year--but I'm pretty sure I don't "get it". Is the altar just a collection of memories, or a place to pray, or something else? I hadn't heard of a meal before, except inasmuch as maybe you have a time to eat pan de muerto--mostly just another bit of remembrance? And is the goal here prayer, or fond memory, or a little of both, or something else entirely--?

Just curious. It's not a common practice here, except among the hispanic population who are mostly only at my church much later in the day than I am anymore... and I ended up being in Virginia for All Souls Mass this year anyways, much as I would have loved to be at my home parish. So my interest was piqued a while back, but I've had no one to ask.

peace
kishiriadgr
Nov. 4th, 2010 11:05 pm (UTC)
Dia de los Muertos is best known in its Mexican form, which is very dramatic. Mexicans love death, we love it (her?) more than pie. My home in San Diego is a mere 20 minute drive from the border, and the Dia is celebrated extensively here. The flowers on my altar, shown on my Facebook page, were advertised as "Dia de los Muertos Bouquets" at Vons (Safeway everywhere else), Bread of the Dead is easy to find around town, my Augustinian Irish parish had an altar, and so on.

The belief, permitted and encouraged by the Spanish conquerors, is that around November 1 the veil between the living and the dead is thin enough that the two can interact easily. Since it's also All Souls there are a lot of prayers said for the dead. I started my celebration saying the rosary; I was alone at that time so I played the Rosary Army Glorious Mysteries MP3 for company. After a few more prayers I served dinner. Steve came home later and I served dessert then.

In Mexico, families go to the graveyard, clean and decorate family graves, then party all night beside the graves, inviting the souls to catch up on the year's events with them. The altar tradition is for those who can't do that, such as myself.
gorski
Nov. 5th, 2010 12:56 am (UTC)
Thanks, Teppy--I'd been wondering about that. (:

hope it was a blessed one for you and yours--sounded good, at least.
elevengirl
Nov. 5th, 2010 02:38 am (UTC)
Thanks for the explanation, and it does sound lovely.
kwokj
Nov. 5th, 2010 02:52 am (UTC)
That's lovely :)

what are bursing pins, btw?
kishiriadgr
Nov. 5th, 2010 06:04 am (UTC)
NURSING pins. She was a nurse in the 40s and 50s. We still had the pins from the hospitals where she worked.

Edited at 2010-11-05 06:05 am (UTC)
kwokj
Nov. 5th, 2010 04:29 pm (UTC)
oh, like to identify her on her uniform? sorry about my typo :p
kishiriadgr
Nov. 5th, 2010 06:53 pm (UTC)
Yes, her name plate and a pin with the hospital crest on it.
miafeliz
Nov. 5th, 2010 04:17 am (UTC)
That sounds really cool. I didn't grow up observing Dia de los Muertos here, but I'm truly fascinated by it. Since we have a large immigrant community within our parish, an altar was put up in the gathering space of our church. It was amazing. We have a Mass on All Souls where we remember our loved ones in the book of life and people bring pictures to put up for the month. It's nice.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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