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Dia de los Muertos
October 30, 2009
9:07 pm
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chelonia mydas
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Does anyone want to join me in celebrating Día de los Muertos this year with a special cyber-altar to honor all of our deceased friends and family?

We would start by cleaning a corner of the room, washing the walls, floor etc. Then setting up a table to honor the dead. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. The celebration occurs on November 1st and 2nd in connection with the Catholic holiday of All Saints' Day which occurs on November 1st and All Souls' Day which occurs on November 2nd. Traditions include building private altars honoring the deceased, using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed, and visiting graves with these as gifts.

We would list the people (and furkids/featherkids) that have died that we wish to honor. If you want you can tell a little bit about them and what ofrendas you would leave for them. Ofrendas are items they would have liked such as their favorite food or hat or blanket.

October 30, 2009
9:31 pm
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chelonia mydas
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This year I would like to honor the following

My grandfather who passed this year. His ofrendas include hershey bars, ice cream, an entire 50 states quarter collection (he spent years ensuring that all 20+ grandkids had a complete collection) and black licorice.

My father who has been gone for 13 years. His ofrendas include a purple towel, peppermint soap, bottle of beer, a home cooked meal, a blinky star he made for me for Christmas in the 70's it was sycnorized which back then was a very big accomplishment.

My beloved cat Cassie who passed this year. Her ofrendas include a pair of flannel pajama pants- she loved to rub on my legs when I wore flannel. I saw her being born, was with her poor starving mother when she took her last breath feeding her babies and raised her from an infant. She was 13 years old and my biggest cuddlebunny. I still wake up some night and expect her to be snuggled beside me.

My sweet cockatiel Circe that also passed this year. Her ofrendas include cooked pumpkin and sunflower seeds, two of her favorite treats. I also have her crooked perch that she could climb up from the bottom of the cage because she had a disability from a head injury (she was confiscated from an abusive home when I was an animal control officer)

Quitey, Nackie, Ebbieboy and Twilight the stray kittens I tried to care for until I could find forever families to keep them but they all died this year from cars and other animals. I honor them with the soft beds that I never could find for them but tried so hard and really wanted to. I do love them and wish they could know that I did my best for them, even though it wasn't good enough and they never saw their first birthday.

October 30, 2009
11:36 pm
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armyleo
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What are "ofrendas" - are they gifts or are they stuff they liked?

October 31, 2009
8:30 am
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chelonia mydas
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Ofrendas are the offerings for the spirits of your loved ones so they can be either gifts or offering them items they liked while they were alive. Some beleive that the spirit of that person/pet returns to enjoy the essense of the ofrendas. Those with this beleif feel that the food that is left afterward has no nutritional value, but is often eaten by the family following the celebration.

To me the ofrendas provide a way of remembering who they were and what they liked and honoring their memory by placing these items on the dia de los muertos altar.

Throughout Mexico (and some other countries too) you will find these memorial altars everywhere. It is usually a table set up with gifts for the spirits. For those that beleieve that they return, it is to entice them to pay that place a visit and spend time with the people there. In some villages, the families have a picnic at the grave site in order to be with their loved one. Where I live, most of the people just honor their loved ones at home and go to the cemetary to clean up and decorate the graves.

October 31, 2009
9:18 am
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It No Longer Matters
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I'll join you Chelonia.

My father: First off I would fix him a drink - Canadian Mist and Water. Then a grilled rib-eye medium rare, baked potato (butter and sour cream) and a green salad with bleu cheese dressing and a lemon merangue pie.

For his beloved poodle, I would provide the same steak and a lap to cuddle in.

For my father in law: A case of Shaeffer Lite and a pack of cigarettes.

My Grandfather: A can of Prince Albert Tobacco and some rolling papers. A piece of wood and a pocket knife.

For my Golden Retriever: A tennis ball, a "pitiful duck" and his brush.

Bitsy

November 1, 2009
7:45 am
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chelonia mydas
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Hi Bitsy,

Thanks for sharing this holiday with me.

It is curious to notice the differences in cultures. To some talking of the dead is completely forbidden, while for others they have complete celebrations in their honor. And them most are somewhere in between.

I didn't even know about Dia de los Muertos until I moved to Texas and now that I'm in Mexico I find that I look forward to celebrating it. I find it comforting to remember and honor them in a celebration. And for some that beleive that the souls really do return, it allows them an opportunity to close out old business and tie up loose ends. I guess even if you don't beleive their soul returns, you can still use this time to find peace with the situation. Having it dedicated out like this also allows you to save back those thoughts if they are intrusive into your mind for a time that is set aside for it.

Anyway, I appreciate your support of this celebration.

November 1, 2009
10:01 am
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It No Longer Matters
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Chelonia, I am sorry more didn't participate.

Bitsy

November 1, 2009
7:39 pm
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chelonia mydas
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Thats OK, at least you did. Most might not even know and I think many others dont even venture over to the libs side of the boards.

I took some time this afternoon to walk though part of the town and see some of the other altars. Today is the celebration of the children, tomorrow will be the adults.

Hugs to ya

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