I’m dipping mi dedito into this whole Day of the Dead thing. Most of my Mexican friends have been patient as I’ve discovered and learned about their culture.
I’m sure you’d think otherwise if you were to hear me speak, but I’m not a native Spanish speaker. (Gracias Rosetta Stone y Adelante Media Group muerto.)
So I’m always hesitant to put “feliz” in front of “Dia de Los Muertos” as a holiday greeting, as we are prone to do in the US.
Happy Halloween? Ok, I’ll give you that one because Milky Ways and Snickers are in abundance.
But “Happy Day Of The Dead?” It may sound a bit weird, but as I learn more, it doesn’t seem that odd.
El Dia de Los Muertos is a Mexican holiday that’s observed October 31 – November 2 throughout Mexico and around the world. In the US, it’s often and mistakingly conflated with our Halloween. Unlike our gluttonous celebration of ghouls and goblins, Dia de los Muertos is a colorful holiday that focuses on gatherings and remembrances of those friends and family have have died.
Hence the whole “confusion with Halloween” thing by us gringos.
In celebration, participants pay homage to their loved ones by constructing beautiful altars in their memory. The altars incorporate photos, incense, candles, colorful artifacts, and even food, water & drink that their relatives enjoyed during their lives.
My grandma, “Ma,” died twenty years ago, but I think of her almost every day — and certainly every time I smell cut grass, see a dandelion, hear the song “Danny Boy” (or anything sung by Loretta Lynn), or eat a White Castle. All of those experiences prompt smiles, so I could get into the erection of the altar thing.
One of my Mexican “little brothers,” Alex, tells me me there’s no authentic greeting for Día de Los Muertos. He tells me that you just know it’s Día de los Muertos.
But again, North Americans put “good” and “happy” in front of holidays to commemorate the brutal crucifixion of an innocent carpenter, and “happy” ahead of Memorial Day, commemorating those who died in wars.
And as I’ve mentioned, Mexicans are a very forgiving people. Hell, there’s allegedly even a Mexicans For Trump group!
So…Feliz Dia de los Muertos!
Click here to read more about El Dia de los Muertos, and get information on related Sacramento-area events.