Zombies vs. Calavera- Perhaps this is what’s wrong in our culture

Happy Dia de los Muertos! Or Day of the Dead for those of us who did not do well in high school Spanish 🙂

I love this holiday. Celebrated all throughout Latin America-celebrating our dead, a celebration of love and respect for our family members who are no longer with us.

What a cool day. Because let’s face it, the only two constants in life are death and taxes.

In contrast, we have Halloween. I’m a so-so fan of Halloween but I’m not a big fan of super spooky things.

Halloween is spooky and marked with fear. The Celts began a festival called Samhain 2,000 years ago. It marked the end of summer and the beginning of winter- a time when us humans are vulnerable to cold, disease and an absence of food. For one night, October 31st, the ghost of the dead came back to earth and caused mischief, damaged crops and terrorized the poor Celts. Animals were sacrificed, crops were burned; all to keep these mischief makers away for the rest of the winter.

And today- our dead are menacing. They come out of the ground, all decayed and stinky, they eat our brains and the only way to ‘kill the undead’ is to crop off their heads and burying them deep in the ground where they can never come back again.

Gruesome. Right? Don’t mention the dead because they are bad and they will eat your brains.

Perhaps this underlying stigma is why those of us who grieve; search for a way to grieve and honor our loves without losing brain matter.

On Dias de los Muertos, alters are built in homes to invite loved ones back into the realm of the living. Water and food are offered after such a long journey. Marigolds are scattered in the household. And to date, not one person has been eaten by a zombie.

Not one person!

I know my Loves are around. I feel them in a pink sunrise, I smell them after a Spring rain. How lovely to have a day to celebrate the people we love with color, joy and song instead of shoving them back into the ground.

Happy Dia de los Muertos! I challenge you on this day to look around and remember your Loves with joy and celebration. I challenge you to ask one person about a Love they miss. My Grandma Dodie loved a good, dry martini; perhaps today we will have one together 🙂

2 thoughts on “Zombies vs. Calavera- Perhaps this is what’s wrong in our culture”

  1. Dia de los Muertos is a lovely holiday that I wish were part of my culture. One thing, though–the Celts didn’t sacrifice animals to protect from spirits. They culled the animals that they couldn’t afford to maintain/feed over the winter. It was a harvest, not a sacrifice.


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