Day of the Dead in Fort Collins, Colorado
I offered my services to the Poudre River Libraries after I saw the event being promoted on Facebook, but I had no idea it would be one of the highlights of 2021 for me. What a colorful and energetic day of community and celebration of one's heritage and ancestors! I'm so glad I got to be a part of it.
What is Día de Muertos?
Here's a description from the event's official website:
"The Day of the Dead is an annual Latin American mestizo celebration from October 31 to November 2 where families gather to honor their ancestors and loved ones. The celebration is based on Indigenous traditions though also incorporated Judeo-Christian influence following Spanish conquest and colonization. In Pre-Columbian Mexico (before 1521), many native Mesoamerican groups, such as the Aztecs and Mexica, celebrated rituals dedicated to celebrating the return of their deceased relatives at the end of the summer. After colonization, evangelizers adjusted the dates of the festivities to coincide with “All Saints’ Night.”
The Day of the Dead celebration was included in UNESCO’s Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity list on November 7, 2003."
A Celebration of Ancestry and Culture
I believe that traditional cultures are something we should all take the time to learn more about. We should learn about our own, as well as others. That way we can understand who and what we are, as well as be more compassionate to others.
One thing you'll find that is common amongst all of the traditional practices I've witnessed is a deep reverence for our ancestors – and what they have gone through to get us to where we are today. Also, there's something they dealt with often that is perhaps more profound and important: a recognition that we're going to die.
They dealt with the reality of mortality in many ways, but never by hiding away from it – instead, they would celebrate the lives we'd lived as well as the death we will never experience. It's something that touches everyone, but we don't think about it. I believe that should change.
Our ancestors celebrated and recognized that none of us get out of here alive. We're all gonna die, but to me, that makes me even more grateful for the life I get to live, especially since it's comparatively luxurious given what they went through.