Happy November everyone! I hope you ate your fair share of candy goodness last night! Keeping with the holiday spirit and expanding on this week’s blog theme of Día de los Muertos, I wanted to share some thoughts I have on this special, and somewhat mysterious, Mexican holiday. Specifically, I want to talk a little about death–yes, kinda weird and creepy but hang in here with me and you will be surprised by a treat in the end! 🙂
Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die tomorrow.
OK, first of all, I know this subject is SUPER taboo. Which is why I want to talk about it! But I am giong to wrap it all up in a fantastic holiday, my favorite holiday, Día de los Muertos or Day of the Dead. I fell in love with this holiday as soon as I learned about it and taught a lesson on it every year when I was an art teacher. It is my favorite holiday because it confronts death, it deals with death, it talks about death, and it even laughs at death.
Día de los Muertos is a holiday celebrated in Mexico from October 31st until November 2nd to remember and honor the dead. It is believed that deceased loved ones come back to visit on these nights for a celebration. It is also a holiday to reflect on our own mortality, perhaps even laugh at it, and most importantly love and savor the life we do have. In the week leading up to November 1st and 2nd, families will create beautiful alters for their loved ones that have died. The big celebrations take place on November 1st and 2nd when families bring the party to the cemetery, well, at least in the most traditional parts of Mexico, though many places will have street parties too. You may be given a sugar skull with your name on it as a friendly reminder that you will die one day too.
My question is why did death become so taboo in the US–more taboo than sex, oh boy can we talk about sex! Lately, I have listened to two fantastic podcasts that discuss death. The first, from NPR, is an interview with a mortician and the second comes from a favorite podcast of mine, Stuff Mom Never Told You, where hosts Christen and Caroline interview Kate Sweeney, author of American Afterlife: Encounters in the Customs of Mourning. I think both of these podcasts do an excellent job discussing death and dying beautifully and candidly. I encourage you to give them a listen!
Death and dying has always been a subject of interest to me, which is why I love the Día de los Muertos holiday so much. It provides an open and easy platform to discuss and celebrate death. Hearing other women talk openly about the subject in the podcasts gives me hope. They give me confidence that someday it might not be so taboo and we will be able to openly and easily discuss death and dying with our loved ones, our children and our friends.
And with that, I want to announce a little giveaway in celebration of Día de los Muertos! One lucky winner will win a brand new Zenned Out jewelry design–a sugar skull copper cuff bracelet with the quote “Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die tomorrow.” stamped secretly on the inside! All you have to do is like the Zenned Out Facebook page and then in the blog comments, please tell me something you live for, or are grateful for! The winner will be chosen on Tuesday, November 4th at 8 am PST!
Cassie Uhl is the founder and owner of Zenned Out, a jewelry company that handcrafts jewelry with meaning and provides a community that inspires a mindful and spiritual lifestyle. Cassie grew up with a open minded, astrology obsessed grandmother and a father that would take her and her sister star gazing in the wee hours of the night. These experiences shaped Cassie and Zenned Out into what they are today by bringing spirituality and astrology into the forefront. Cassie hopes to give spiritual souls a place to feel at home on the Zenned Out blog and offers handcrafted jewelry with meaningful symbols, powerful gemstones, and mindful quotes to enable people to wear jewelry that aligns with their souls purpose.