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Day of the Dead Collection is here

  • by Ricardo Martinez

Popular to contrary belief the Day of the Dead (dia de los muertos) has nothing to do with Halloween.

In this post I'm going to talk about one of my favourite celebrations.

Day of the Dead Graphic Tee

To begin, the Calavera or Skulls in English has been around for a long time, as far as 3,000 years.  Mankind's obsession with the afterlife has been documented since the dawn of time.  From the early cave paintings to the Egyptian's mummies, there has been a constant fascination of what happens after we go.

Don Paco day of the Dead Graphic Tee

Often I wonder if it is the ego that makes us hold on to the idea that life exists after we depart this existence.  Many can't grasp the fact that there is an "end" to us, that there must be a continuation.  Religion wants us to believe that there is a heavenly father waiting for us at the pearly gates.  Through various life experiences that I've had I have been persuaded to believe a little bit of both sides.  Spiritual experiences that I have had through different stages in my life leads me to believe that there is something there that we cannot fully understand.

Firulais (Doggo) Day of the Dead Unisex long sleeve


So When is the day of the dead celebrated?

No it is not on Halloween! but rather November 1 and 2nd.

Most think that it is celebrated for just one day but nothing is further from the truth.  Preparation for the Day of the Dead happens days before and once it arrives it is a multi-day celebration.  If you have seen the movie Coco by Disney you will see that there is a lot involved leading up to the actual day.  Many take November 1 and 2 off from work to partake in the festivities.  In the evenings you will see night vigils set up around the graves of the deceased.  Expect to hear singing, laughter and constant chatter about the souls that have departed.  Although different cities and municipalities differ in the celebrations the underlying theme is the same.  Some cities have parades like in Mexico city while most do not.  Dia de los muertos has hit the mainstream and has been commercialized, especially after the hit movie Coco.   I myself have many fond memories as a child with my Grandmother during these celebrations.

Altars for the Dead

Altars are built surrounded by images of the dead.  Here Ofrendas (offerings) are placed with the idea that the departed souls will return to their homes and hear the prayers said by the family.  Usually you will find altars that are decorated with vibrant purples, yellows and oranges.  The warm glow of candle light give these altars a surreal and beautiful look as the photographs of the dead almost seem to come to life.  Some families may not have the room in their homes to construct an altar so often these altars are made right at the grave site.

Doña Mimi Women's Slim Fit Tee

Cempasuchiles (Mexican Marigolds)

Just how we have roads that leads us to our homes or work, the dead also have their own paved by the petals of these beautiful Mexican Marigolds.  Petals are laid by family members that serve as pathways that leads from the cemetery to their homes.  It is believed that the deceased can use these roads to guide them back home and be with their families.  This flower blooms only during the rainy season and aligns perfectly with the day of the dead celebration.

Sugar Skulls "Calaveras"

These "Calaveras" often have the name of the deceased written on them with icing sugar.  The actual sugar edible versions are given to family members especially children.  These Calaberas are often made into cookies or other sort of pastries.  Calacas is a slang word for skeleton and you will find many decorated around altars and grave sites.  Often times these Calacas are dressed up in ornate traditional Mexican dresses.

Everyone dies Twice

A popular saying latin culture is that everyone does twice in their earthly existence. 

The first time is when their physical body passes on, the second is the last time someone says your name. 

My grandparents, Francisca and Carlos aka Mama Paquita and Papa Co

This way of looking at the dead has changed my view on our family and friends that have passed on.  I think that it is important for our children to remember and hear stories of our family that have departed. 

The dead have all lived their lives, loved, cried, and rejoiced. 

They experienced frustrations, disease and triumphs.  It has taken a lot of people to come together and battle through famine and war for us to exist.  The least we can do is to live up to their legacy by sharing their stories with our families especially our children.  Perhaps this is a big reason in why I hold El dia de los muertos so close to me.

I know that these days are tough and at times they seem as if there's no end in sight.  Not going to tell you that this will pass quick but what I will say is to let the energy of your ancestors flow through your being.  Tap into that invisible power that lies deep inside to carry you through the hardships we are all experiencing now.

The current hard times are battles that we must cross in the way our deceased relatives crossed theirs.  Perhaps one day someone mentions my name in the search of strength.

Please take care of yourselves and each other.  Let's keep going forward, even if it means baby steps.

Ricardo

Creative Director

Moondream Eclipse Apparel

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