On the heels of Samhain, with the veil between the worlds still thin, we continue on with the Dia de los Muertos celebrations.
The above is a photo of the tea towel sent to me by my cousin. Totally fabulous isn’t it – particularly if you look closely a see a bee in the nose.
And here’s a photo of my altar from last night – before doing my ancestor remembrance ceremony.
I often get asked about what exactly I do in my remembrance ceremony and I’m happy to talk about a few of the components. In one of the bowls I have bay leaves, each with the name of a beloved family member, ancestor, or friend who has crossed from this plane. Also on the altar is a box of photographs – I like to gather a photo, if one is available, for each person I’m honoring. And then there is a little bowl of rosemary, the herb for remembrance. I begin by pulling a bay leaf from the bowl, and then dig out the corresponding photo, and simply have a chat with that person. Some conversations are long, some less so, but I always end them with an expression of thanks and love. And then I burn the bay leaf adding a pinch of rosemary. Given that the bay leaves are dry, they burn in interesting patterns, and so often there is a symbol or message to receive. And when the leaf is completely burned, I move on to the next person. I’m always filled with such love and deep sense of connection, and it’s probably my favorite ceremony I do each year.
In the spirit of Dia de los Muertos, which is truly a celebration, I’ve gathered a few delights for you.
This 1957 video by designers Charles and Ray Eames is a fascinating introduction to how Dia de los Muertos was celebrated almost 60 years ago.
And here’s a modern day celebration in Oaxaca Mexico from Norma Hawthorne.
This is another gem you must see – a claymation video entitled Down to the Bone. I LOVE claymation!
Moving back into the vintage realm, here’s a short film documenting a 1936 performance of Louis Armstrong doing Skeleton in the Closet. In one sense it feels startling vintage as this was not a particularly positive time in our nation’s history with regard to acknowledging racial equality. But still it always feels like a treat to me to see this incredible musician.
Should you want to try your hand in the baking arena, today might be the day to try making soul cakes. Here’s some background and recipe from the Lost Past Remembered blog.
And finally I would truly be remiss in not mentioning one of my favorite kid’s book character by the extraordinary Yuyi Morales’ Senor Calavera.
Wishing you a wonderful day where you remember your lineage, honor your beloved ancestors, and celebrate the thin veil between our worlds.