Friday, November 02, 2012
Celebrating Life on the Day of the Dead
"Dia de los Muertos" (The Day of the Dead) was NOT a tradition I grew up with.
Halloween I got. Totally. My parents ran with a crowd of long-time friends who ALWAYS celebrated with a Halloween party and so my childhood was one where kids AND parents dressed up and celebrated All Hallow's Eve on October 31. One Halloween I'll always remember was 1962 -- right in the middle of the Cuban Missile Crisis. I remember saying my prayers that October that Jesus please not let Castro come kill us all before I got to wear my fairy princess costume for Halloween. Seriously!
And All Saints Day I got. I prided myself on memorizing all the verses to "For All The Saints" before anybody else in the Junior Choir and I loved the music, the pageantry and the drama of All Saints Day in church and the stories of the saints -- some of them gory and dramatic -- we learned in Sunday School. St. George and the Dragon -- just to pick one -- was a favorite. Plus All Saints Day had the added advantage of bringing us one step closer to Advent which meant Christmas was coming, so it was all good.
I even got Reformation Day -- but not necessarily in a good way. My elementary school years were spent in a small Lutheran Day School in Highland Park. While the public school kids across the street were parading around in their costumes and getting prizes and candy, we were coloring pictures of Martin Luther nailing the 95 Theses to the door of the Wittneberg Cathedral. We weren't bitter at all.
But by November 2nd it was all over -- except for what was left of the Halloween candy after my mother had picked out the good stuff and we were down to the gum and lifesavers. All Souls Day and the celebration of "The Day of the Dead" wasn't even on our radar.
When it comes to "Dia de los Muertos" I am a "late adapter" but it is a tradition I am delighted to now embrace -- and last night we had a wonderful celebration at Holy Spirit in Silverlake ... which included the presence of our Bishop Suffragan Mary Glasspool as presider and seminarian Nancy Fausto a the "reflector" who led the gathered congregation in sharing stories of their departed loved ones -- represented by photos on the "ofrenda" pictured above.
So today -- on All Souls Day -- taking a moment to give thanks for those we love but see no more. Taking time to remember stories of shared love, joy, companionship and blessing. And taking time to give thanks for the gift of community, the mystery of the thin place between life and death and the power and promise of the resurrection.
And for Louise and Betty: Presente!