Traditional Tidbits: Day of the Dead

“Picnic basket?”

“Check.”

“Flowers?”

“Check.”

“Grandpa’s favorite book?”

“Check.”

“Sugar skulls?”

“Check.”

“Fantastic! We are ready to go. Juan, Rosalita, Gabriel, and Hector, get down here! We’re leaving for the cemetery in five minutes!”

It was customary in my family, and in all of the families around us, to spend November 2 at the cemetery. There we ate food, talked about grandpa, prayed for grandpa, placed sugar skulls on grandpa’s grave, and read grandpa his favorite book. My mom always cried a little, but the tears came from a happy place inside of her -- a place that knew grandpa was still with her.

“Okay, my little angelitos! Let’s go!”

As we walked down the lane to the cemetery, I thought of my grandpa. I thought about how he had walked down the very same lane I was walking down, so he could visit his grandpa on Day of the Dead. Then I thought about how his grandpa walked down that lane to visit his grandpa. And how his grandpa did the same. And then, in some strange way, I felt more connected to all those grandpas than ever before.

 

October 31, November 1, and November 2 are the days where the Mexican holiday of “Day of the Dead” is celebrated. Perhaps you don’t have access to the traditional costumes and decorations used in Mexico, but you can take the day to remember and celebrate the lives of your ancestors all the same.