Sunday, November 01, 2009

Days "of Innocent Merriment"

Hope you had an exciting and happy Hallowe'en!

Not lonely like this sad pumpkin.

And for tomorrow, Un buen Dia de los Muertos! (That's Day of the Dead, one of Mexico's most popular celebrations.)

Papier-mâché Catrina. Created by my grand-daughter for her mother.

The hat and reboso.

In Mexican custom, Dia de los Muertos is a day to remember your deceased relatives, and to invite them to share, for a moment, your life again. Altars are set up with the favourite foods of those you wish to honour. (By some coincidence, they turn out to be everybody's favourites; mole de guajolote, rice, tequila, pressed fruit ates ...) Often, the food is taken out in the evening to the graveyard. After the deceased have had their fill, (without diminishing the quantities, however; they partake of the "essence" and leave the solid stuff) the family sits down and polishes off the rest.

In the plazas, vendors hawk little white sugar skulls, some with names pasted on the foreheads. The newspapers devote pages to silliness, publishing satirical eulogies, called "calaveritas", of living politicians and other public figures, local and international, in rollicking rhyme. (Samples here, including George Bush.)

Join the fun! Bake a batch of Grandma's specialty cookies and share them with the next generation. Or plant daffodils for that uncle who loved them. ... I'm sure you can think of something.

(Title from Gilbert and Sullivan; they could have been writing calaveritas.)

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