Sunday, October 11, 2009

DIA DE LOS MUERTOS By Harriet Von Lupin

Hi there! This is Harriet Von Lupin reporting for The MonsterGrrls' 31 Days Of Halloween, and our Mad Doc's post on trick-or-treat got me thinking: you know, not everybody celebrates Halloween in the same way. In Mexico, Halloween is just the day before a very special holiday time called Dia De Los Muertos, or Day Of The Dead.

On the Christian calendar, November 1st and 2nd are called All Saints Day and All Souls Day, where people celebrate and remember departed saints and loved ones. On November 1st and 2nd in Mexico, families gather to celebrate, remember and pray for the souls of those who have died. People believe that on these days, it's a lot easier for these souls to communicate with everybody still living, so they go to cemeteries to do just that! They make private altars with all their favorite foods and beverages, pictures, memorabilia, and all kinds of other stuff. They do this to attract the spirits of their dead loved ones, so that they can hear their prayers and all the good stories and things their families and friends have to remember about them. They clean and decorate the graves, and put up ofrendas, which means offerings (like the stuff I described above). They also put marigolds on the graves, which in Mexico is called flor de muerto, or flower of the dead.

A symbol that gets used a lot during these celebrations is the skull, which is
called calavera. People wear skull masks, and even have little skulls made out of sugar or chocolate, which are put on the altars and given as gifts. Another thing they do is make a special sweet bread called pan de muerto, which is sometimes shaped like a skull, and sometimes has white frosting on it like bones. They also make altars in their homes with these same offerings, so that when the dead spirits come to visit, they will be refreshed and fed, 'cause they believe that the spirits eat the spiritual essence of the foods the living make for them. Even though the living eat the foods later, they believe it doesn't have any nutritional value, or good stuff, inside it any more.

Now I know this might sound a little weird and scary to some of you, but it's actually a very cool thing to do. Everyone has a deceased family member who really meant a lot to them, so this is a good way for people to remember all the good things about their loved ones and keep them in their hearts. And hey, being a werewolf, I come from a very large family, so I can totally relate!

So that's all for that, but I hope you enjoyed it, and maybe even learned something (unless you were just being really careful!) Gotta go, but I'll see you soon again for The MonsterGrrls' 31 Days Of Halloween! OW-WOOOOOO!!

Harriet Von Lupin