By Juana Bordas for Latin Life Denver Media, Photos & Video by Joe Contreras, Latin Life Denver Media
1.This month take time to remember your loved ones – celebrate their lives – and give thanks for their contributions to your life!
This is especially meaningful for me. Being the youngest daughter in a large Latino family. I got all kinds of help, protection and love from my older sisters. They were my champions, my greatest supporters. My sister Maggie was the heart of the family showing love to everyone. During Dia de los Muertos, I welcome her home and remember all she gave me.
The centerpiece of Dia de los Muertos is the altar. These can be very elaborate, but also be very simple – the important thing is to welcome and to reconnect with people by remembering them and the things they loved.
Want to do an altar this year? Find pictures of your grandparents, friends and relatives you want to remember. Place some marigold flowers in a vase and light a few candles. Gather some of their favorite items or things they use to enjoy. For my father I place a small glass of brandy; for my mother chocolates and music by Julio Iglesias, her favorite Spanish crooner. To welcome your familia cook their favorite dishes – after all you are inviting them to visit – so be hospitable.
The night of October 31st the cemeteries in Mexico are aglow with candles, marigolds, and Kahlo lilies. The whole community commemorates together. Families gather with food, music, and drink. There is much talking, story-telling, and remembering. Mezcal made from maguey, a sacred plant in Mexico, is passed around to keep the spirit warm for the night-long vigil.
“Los Muertos” reminds us that la vida (life) is fleeting – the time to act, to do accomplish, and to celebrate is now – ahora!
During this solemn and yet festive time – Take time to reflect on your own life journey and the legacy you wish to leave. How do you want to be remembered? What have you been putting off doing? What is one thing you can do to advance your legacy