Dia de los Muertos, which seems like a much healthier way to ritualize death at this time of year than the usual Halloween celebration.
This is the first year, though, that I've been motivated to actually put together an altar. Given my dad's death last November, and the fact that next Saturday we'll be going to Grantsville, WV, for a memorial service as his ashes are finally laid to rest in the cemetery there, this seemed like the year to construct one.
Mine isn't traditional, but then, I'm a gringa and a lapsed Protestant borrowing this ritual (and I hope it's borrowing, and not co-opting or abusing). On the other hand, if the Smithsonian can have a Dia de los Muertos Festival in Second Life, I guess "traditional" is a target that's moving even faster than I'd imagined.
There are a few traditional elements, though, namely the sugar skull, which I bought last year at, of all places, the Appalachian Gallery a few blocks away. Ironically (or fittingly), I bought it the weekend that my parents were visiting, when my dad first started having symptoms from his brain tumor.
Rita Flores de Wallace, a Mexican-American folk artist from Denver who was a good friend of the Greeley museum's folklorist, Georgia Wier. This is the first time I've actually hung it up since we got it just before moving back east. I wish you could see the whole thing--the bottom half is obscured by the altar. But it is whimsical and colorful and full of amazing detail.
So, on this Day of the Dead, I honor and remember my dad, especially (and hope his spirit enjoys those wasabi peanuts and red-pepper flakes, and plays his harmonica and pitch pipe).
Nick Howe; and of course, my friend Jay. On the other side are photos and tributes to our old cat Lucy and to my sister's dear old dog Cecil.
None of them forgotten on this holiday, or ever.