Graveyards and cemeteries can be spooky and sometimes a bit creepy, but they can also be a place to remember loved ones who have passed on. And there’s nothing creepy about that. In fact, we are approaching a Mexican holiday where families actually hold picnics and parties in the graveyard to honor the return of loved one’s spirits.
Do you know what Mexican holiday I am referring to? It happens to be our WEEKLY MUSE....
Dia De Los Muertos (The Day of the Dead)!
The Day of the Dead could also be called the Days of the Dead, since the people who celebrate it often spend several days in celebration. November 1st and 2nd are the noted calendar days, which coincide with the Catholic holidays of All Saints’ Day and All Souls Day.
And since the Day of the Dead occurs around the American holiday we call Halloween, many times the festivals overlap and share some of the same customs, especially since America is home to many Mexican Americans and Mexican immigrants.
Those who celebrate the Day of the Dead believe that loved ones who have died are able to return to Earth in spirit form. Families will often place photographs and favorite foods of their dead loved ones on homemade alters inside their homes. Families will also clean and decorate the graves of these people.
At night, families will spend time in the graveyards and welcome the spirits back to Earth. They eat, drink, and tell delightful stories of the returning souls.
Like Halloween, children will dress up in costumes and beg for candy. One very popular candy is sugar skulls. These are very fun to make. If you would like to make some, check out this series of videos – you will needthe help of an adult.
Superstition is found around most holidays, and the Day of the Dead is not left out. Some people participate in this holiday because they feel that they have to. They think that if they do not clean the graves and leave gifts to the dead, those souls will feel cheated and may HAUNT them. Now that is CREEPY (wink).
The Day of the Dead rituals and celebrations go all the way back to the ancient Aztecs. The Aztecs believed that marigold flowers have a special scent that the dead can smell. This is why marigolds are still placed on graves and alters today.
With this new knowledge, what kind of story could you write? Maybe these WHAT IF questions will help you get started.
WHAT IF your main character was one of the souls that returned to Earth on The Day of the Dead? Who was he/she, and who is he/she coming back to see?
WHAT IF your main character made a batch of sugar skulls that came to life and told funny skeleton jokes?
WHAT IF your main character was a dog or cat who participated in the Day of the Dead celebrations?
The possibilities are endless, and please leave your own what if questions in the comment section below. I’d love to see what you come up with.
So, grab a cup of hot cocoa, a pencil and a piece of paper, and let’s begin. With your imagination, we can go anywhere. I look forward to seeing where you take us.
The word of the day is “superstition”. Here is the definition: irrational fear of what is unknown or mysterious.