THE DAY OF THE DEAD
This is a universal day to honor those who have crossed to the Spirit realm
| Mexicans call it "Día de los Muertos" | In Poland it's "Zaduszki" or "Dziady" | A curious [though not unusual] blend of Pagan and Christian religious ceremony | Generalizing broadly, the holiday's activities consist of families (1) welcoming their dead back into their homes, and (2) visiting the graves of their close kin | This is not a dismal observation, but
one of celebration | This observation is "...magickal and special, the time of spirits and souls, divination and remembrances
It is, nevertheless, "... a solemn celebration, for it is believed that at this time the souls of the dead return to visit their homes. At twilight the family lights candles, to shine a beacon to the souls as they return...
The Day of the Dead can range from being a very important cultural event, with defined social and economic responsibilities for participants, to being a religious observance featuring actual worship of the dead |
One practice, observed across cultures, Anglo Americans
would do well to pay heed to, even to emulate and practice | Namely, when preparing the feast, to share the bounty with the poor and disadvantaged | Denice Szafran, writing about Zaduszki, says the poor
"...played an important part in the faith- life of the community. Most often, people were beggars not because they didn't feel like working or settling down, but because they were .... special, touched lightly by the hand of the divine. It was said that they more than most talked to the spirits, and connected with the souls .... it is my opinion, shared by few, that this tradition arose around those individuals who were nomad types, the (for want of a better term here) saintly folk, and around those as well that were "different", not in their appearance, which by virtue of being alone and without a home was naturally disheveled, but different in the sense of being ... less worldly, less preoccupied with the material plane, those for whom talking to the Mother was an accepted everyday occurrence, those who heard voices and saw spirits. Shamanic? Perhaps. I think more than likely, though, now we call them "developmentally disabled" and try to treat this gift as if it were a curse instead..."
Some believe that the ceremony and ritual can be a means of seeking guidance and wisdom from our ancestors | Given that in this nation we face a profound decision tomorrow, it seems also prudent to seek the wisdom of the ancients so as to thoughtfully direct us to pursue a more harmonious future |
Following in the tradition of this occasion, the American Friends Service Committee [the Quakers] have chosen to hold a nationwide Election Eve Candlelight Vigil | To hold our nation in the light | To show that democracy matters | To call for clean elections | To remember the things we all need to care
about — peace, justice, security | Click on the banner below for details |
Other Sites: Okana's Celtic and Polish Traditions |Ricardo Salvador on Mexico's Day of the Dead | Candlelight Vigil Plans || Image Credits: [clockwise from candle] 1-Print Artist clip art | 2-Photo modified in Photoshop by yours truly | 3-Dziady sculptures by Robert Koenig, village of Dominikowice in Poland | 4- Graffiti art from a wall in downtown Kansas City, MO, posted by HeaTheN WoRLD Art Gallery | 5-Film frame from Day of the Dead / 1957, photograph © Lucia Eames dba Eames Office |