There is something about this time of year, at least in the northern hemisphere. Summer seemed like it would last forever, but as the days get shorter, my thoughts turn to mortality and the ephemeral nature of life. Halloween has gained ascendancy as a sort of carnival before the dark days of winter. The Day of the Dead follows closely on the heels of Halloween. In Mexico, the Day of the Dead has long been a celebration of those who came before us. And now this holiday has been creeping northward.
The images for Day of the Dead are linked to the artists Frida Kahlo (note the bird eyebrows) and Jose Posada.
It’s at least nominally Christian, with an altar set up.
Images and cliches of Mexico.
Marigolds are the flower of choice.
This holiday is also intended as a reflection on the vanity of the living.
In the great science fiction show Babylon Five there was an outstanding episode called Day of the Dead. In this show, everyone in a certain section had an evening visit by a dead person. Sometimes it was someone they loved, sometimes it was an enemy, or someone they really didn’t want to see. It was their opportunity to say something, to see and touch that person.
At that time I saw this episode, I had not lost anyone really close to me, so when I thought about who I would like to see, it was my first dog. I would still like to see this dog (and the one who came after him). But perhaps it would be more fitting to use this holiday for a ceremony to honor the memory of those who have left us. Without masks and costumes.