“Mom, don’t forget I need a picture of Dad. We don’t want him to miss The Day of the Dead.”
“No, of course we don’t.”
Each November 2, the Chicago Waldorf School celebrates El Dia De Los Muertos, also called ‘All Souls Day’ and ‘The Day of the Dead’. El Día de los Muertos is a ritual, a time to honor loved ones who have died and to acknowledge death as a part of life.
Our school builds an ofrenda, an altar beautifully decorated, to honor loved ones and to share the pictures of loved ones that have passed. Photographs of Cole’s dad and grandparents take their place on the ofrenda, alongside the photos of the dearly departed loved ones of other family members in our communities.
It’s not a sad time, it’s a remembering time; it’s a time of storytelling. El Día de los Muertos celebrations provide the perfect opportunity for connecting with the “thinning of the veil between worlds,” celebrating and remembering loved ones who have passed on to another realm.
Cole first celebrated the Day of the Dead when he was four. Waldorf’s early childhood classes made the traditional sugar skulls. As Cole walked out of his classroom, he showed me his skulls between licks, and said, “Mommy, this is a skull for our dead family… they are really hungry so we offer them a sugar skull so they know we remember them.”
Tonight he said, “Here Dad, have a Milky Way!”
Our friend, Hawk wrote this poem for me to share with you in honor of El Día de los Muertos.
Read Hawk’s love poem aloud. It’s magical.
Today, I stopped at our neighborhood church to light a candle for Joe. As I was leaving the church, an old, church lady whom I had never met stopped me, holding her hand against my cheek, she whispered, “He lives in your memories.” I stared at her, for but a moment, before she slowly continued her walk down the church aisle.
How do you celebrate your dearly departed loved one’s?
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