01 November 2013

Dia de los Muertos

Can you believe it is November already? Seriously the year seems to have flown by. Soon it will be Thanksgiving then Christmas. This year will seem odd - just like Easter did - without mom physically with us. Mom was one of many family and friends who passed away this year. That thought brings me to today - Dia de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead).

El Dia de los Muertos is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and around the world in other cultures. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. Its roots can be traced back to pre-Columbian days. Families visit cemeteries and prepare small individual altars, thus encouraging those who have passed to visit for the day. Hence, the Day of the Dead. The belief generally speaking is that the souls of the departed will visit and we can communicate with them. They will hear and ideally answer the prayers of the living. The Los Angeles Times today has a great article (with pictures) on el Dia de los Muertos.

Catholics (that is to say Roman Catholics of the Latin Rite) celebrate All Saints Day today. It is a day when Western Christianity honors saints, both recognized by the Church and those not recognized. Tomorrow, All Souls Day, honors all those who have passed. On the first Sunday after Pentecost, in Eastern Christianity, all who have passed are recognized.

As genealogists we remember those who have passed constantly. Today though is a day to actually speak with them, to focus on them and to pray for them and to ask for our prayers to be answered.

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