I love this time of year. Even in California, our non-existent seasons do give way to a slight cooling off period.
The Santa Ana winds start to blow and the trees that do have leaves, (i.e., anything not palm-like), turn various other shades of green.
It is the only time of year I look forward to, and the only season that is so fleeting, because in California, half of Autumn is still under control of Summer, which means that heat waves into the middle of October are much the norm these days.
It is also the only time of the year where it’s acceptable to court death.
To delve into the macabre because it ‘tis the season’ for it. To seek out the thrill of a scary movie or retell ghost stories for no other reason than to experience the eerie sensation that travels up your spine when faced with the unexplained.
Among the hispanic community, this time of year is for celebration, building altars to commune with the dead, for remembrance of the past and remembering the ‘passed’, otherwise known as the deceased…and this is not at all weird. We call it, Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead.
The premise of Dia de los Muertos is the belief that there are three deaths to be experienced. The first death is when all body functions, especially the heart, cease completely.
The second death is when the body is lowered into the ground, (or cremated), no longer visible to the eye.
The third death is the saddest of all…when there is no one left to remember the departed.
As long as you are remembered, you will continue to live on.
This is how it should be, hence the reason so much effort is put into keeping this tradition alive.
There are many that feel this celebration should only be kept within our own communities. That somehow, it is only a [Latino, Hispanic, Mexican] tradition. I am not one of those. I am happy to share my heritage and invite others to celebrate along with me.
Anyone that has ever lost someone close to them should be allowed to pay homage to their dearly departed in any way that is meaningful to them. We do not corner the market on Death, and I, personally, welcome anybody that wishes to remember their loved ones with a particular Latino flair, to do so. Mi casa es su casa.
However you celebrate this time of year, whether you are Christian, Pagan, or something else– I wish you long and happy memories to last for generations yet to come.