For those of you who may not know, Mexican Americans (well, some of us) celebrate El Dia De Los Muertos right after Halloween. I have a lot of non-Hispanic friends and they would look at me with a mixture of bewilderment and fear when I would talk about Dia De Los Muertos.
“Those skulls look evil!”
“So…you guys are trying to bring their spirits back? Like, with black magic?”
“Celebrating their death? Sounds so morbid.”
I understand that it might seem weird or morbid to people who didn’t grow up with this in their life. However, Dia De Los Muertos is far from creepy or morbid. Yes, we may gather in cemeteries (which used to creep out my ex-boyfriend), but we do it not to glorify our loved ones deaths…but to remember and celebrate the gift of their lives.
When I made my first DDLM altar years ago, I dedicated it to my friend Drea who was one of my oldest friends. I met her when we were in the sixth grade and we were close thoughout high school and while we were in college. When we were in our early 20’s, she passed away from cancer. Her passing haunted me. How many of us honestly think about death a great deal when we’re in our 20’s? I couldn’t understand why SHE had to die. For as long as I knew her, she never said a bad thing about anyone…not even the people who were total assholes. She is one of the most wonderful people that I have had the good fortune to know. I’m honored that I could call her my friend. Even now, years after her passing, I catch myself thinking of her, of what could have been. It makes me sad, of course, but I just remind myself that she lived a good life while she was with us, then an image of her smiling face fills my mind and I smile with her.
Sorry I trailed off. LOL. I tend to do that from time to time. Back to the altar: it was a labor of love. I made it all by hand, sawed the wood, nailed it together, painted it, decorated it with papel picado, her favorite drinks, paper mache replicas of her favorite foods, sugar skulls, skeletons, flowers and various pictures of her being her happy self. In short, I put a bunch of stuff on it that reminded me of her.
No. Dia De Los Muertos isn’t scary or blasphemous. It’s just the opposite. Now, in celebration of it, Lolapop! is having a mini-hunt. The prize? Eight different colored Dia De Los Muertos-themed necklaces featuring sugar skulls and flowers. The cost? $5L.
Look for these skulls to get the necklaces! ^
Take a look at the cute necklaces below. When I first saw them, I fell in loooooove!
Try to collect all eight!
Just being me. Hanging with skulls.
So next time you see a sugar skull, don’t be quick to dismiss Dia De Los Muertos off as “just another scary holiday” featuring flowers and “dark magic” (like someone once told me). Not everyone wants to mourn the loss of a loved one. Some of us want to celebrate life by raising the dead (so to speak).