"For all eternity, my descendants will remember me and I will come back to them. I will find the house filled with food, incense, the light of candles, and warmth. And I will come in and, forever and ever, that one night of the year, I will be among my own."
Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) originates in the primordial depths of Mexican civilization. Today it crosses all cultures as a ceremony to remember and value our ancestors, the ones who through generations have led us to where we are. This ceremony is both very personal, profoundly heartfelt, and also a great fun obtained from joyous music, dancing, singing, colorful decorations; requiring getting together, suggesting dressing up in festive garments, theme face-painting, and going out. Those who are no more with us would have wanted to be remembered precisely this way. Besides, what do we pre-mortals know of the Beyond to feel sad for the departed?
Although similar in many of its outward manifestations and coinciding in time and in some spaces with Halloween, Dia de los Muertos essentially differs from it as a purposeful, well-meaning and sincere ritual. The key part of this ritual is making ofrendas, or altars. It's art – there is no method to it, as long as the focus is on honoring your dead and the results are not only beautiful, but also very meaningful to you. Follow your intuition: photos, small personal belongings, flowers, fruits, breads, candles, incense...
Set it up in the corner of your room, or outside or bring it with you to the Farm. Our dead would no doubt be thrilled to know your dead and vice-versa. Regardless of our different cultural backgrounds, Dia de los Muertos is an opportunity to remind ourselves that family traditions, culture as a whole and the historical continuum of humanity is part of who we are and who we will be for the generations to come.