After preaching at Faith Bellaire on Reformation Sunday morning, I headed over to Santiago Apóstol/St. James, where they were assembling their ofrenda for el Día de los Muertos. Over the next week, the ofrenda will grow with more photos and offerings. It was good to see Pastors Jhon Hairo, Ele Clay and Arthur Murphy.
One way of dealing with and the loss of loved ones is through the Mexican Day of the Dead: Día de los Muertos or Día de los Difuntos. Think All Saints. In this event, death is splashed with color and hope. It may include family visits to a cemetery and a family altar that has photos of loved ones, small candied sugar skulls, the skeleton prints of José Guadalupe Posada, pan de los Muertos and things that the departed loved.
Sometimes referred to as “Mexican Halloween,” Day of the Dead is more. Lara Medina observes:
“Publicly communing with the dead contests mainstream fears embedded in Euro-
American Western cultural practices. As a ritual that honors and interacts with the
dead in a familial and joyful manner, the tradition challenges a society that silences
the dead shortly after a funeral. Western cultures enclose death in gated cemeteries
void of color and merrymaking. Días de los Muertos does not replicate patterns of
exclusion. The rite, with its color, humor, and friendly spirit, invites all people to
approach death and the “other” without fear. The silence of death and the pain
exclusion are challenged in the festivity of this public mourning ritual.”