02 November 2006

El Dia de los Muertos

This is my little blog moment to celebrate the lives of those who went before. There is a saying among genealogists that goes something like, "Those who do not preserve the memories of their ancestors are likely to be forgotten themselves." We all know another saying, "If we do not remember history, we are doomed to repeat it."

The Day of the Dead is an ancient Aztec celebration in memory of deceased ancestors, celebrated on November 1 (All Saints' Day) and November 2 (All Souls' Day). The holiday is especially popular in Mexico, Guatemala, the Philippines and Brazil, where it is a national holiday. It is a day, not unlike the US American Memorial Day, where we honor the dead.

El Dia de los Muertos

:: Audio Article [2:24 mp3] from the Jefferson Daily

:: "What Do Mexicans Celebrate On The Day Of The Dead?," by Ricardo J. Salvador from his book

:: Photos of Mexican and Guatemalan Festival

:: Pan de Muerto: Day of the Dead Bread Recipe

:: Calaveras de Azucar: Day of the Dead Sugar Skull Recipes [vegans: easily substitute Ener G Egg Replacer or equivalent for egg white or meringue powder] recipe 1, recipe 2, recipe 3, more recipes

:: Day of the Dead Cookies: 1st place goes to Kittee [recipe here (cool site!)], 2nd place goes to Heidi

News to me: Calaveras, (skulls) are not just the name for the candy of the celebration, but also for humorous poems and songs about the dead written around El Dia de los Muertos.

Much of the modern world looks down on honoring the dead as macabre or morose. Honoring those who fell in battle or heros of the arts, science and industry is still glorious, but honoring your own dead should be somber and private? The Day of the Dead doesn't follow that rule. It celebrates the happiness, struggles, personalities, achievements and spirit of life of those who are no more.

Simon and Garfunkel - Bookends Theme
[excerpt from Piccadilly Records]

Honoring my dead is different this year. I lost several memento mori in the flood this summer. There has been so little understanding about having lost sentimental items, tangible memories that reinforce the memories your mind holds. Should I even have to explain that photos, letters and tiny objects of sentiment have value? The USA, land of plenty, seems to be battling itself about all its possessions. Piles of stuff do not have the same value as a great-grandmother's locket, letters from a dad out at sea or a grandad's recipes to me. [Ever see Citizen Kane?]

Vaguely Relevant MP3s

:: Son De Oriente - La Rumba De Las Calaveras [source]

:: The Latin Brothers - Las Calaveras [excerpt] [source]

:: Siouxsie and the Banshees - Dia de los Muertos [live] [source]

:: ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead - All Saints' Day [source]

:: Simon and Garfunkel - April Come She Will [live] [source]

:: Dreamend - Memento Mori [source]

:: Dennis Bathory-Kitsz - Memento Mori [source]

:: There is also an Australian punk band named Day of the Dead. You can download their music here.

Day of the Dead Paper Playmates

La Calavera CatrinaLa Calavera Catrina SkeletinaSkeletina

Dedicated to Lost Loves

:: Glenn Miller and His Orchestra - Falling Leaves [source]

:: Glenn Miller and His Orchestra - You Stepped Out of a Dream [source]

:: Glenn Miller and His Orchestra - Speaking of Heaven [source]

:: Glenn Miller and His Orchestra - Too Romantic [source]

:: Glenn Miller and His Orchestra - Vagabond Dreams [source]

:: Glenn Miller and His Orchestra - Sweet Potato Piper [source]

:: Glenn Miller and His Orchestra - Long Tall Mama [source]

:: Glenn Miller and His Orchestra - Here We Go Again [source]

:: Glenn Miller and His Orchestra - Cabana in Havana [source]

:: Glenn Miller and His Orchestra - Says Who, Says You, Says I [source]

:: Glenn Miller and His Orchestra - Moonlight Sonata [given the Moonlight Serenade treatment] [source]

:: Glenn Miller and His Orchestra - A Nightengale Sang in Barkley Square [source]

:: Glenn Miller and His Orchestra - Blue Orchids [source]

other sources:

:: Glenn Miller and His Orchestra - Always in My Heart [source]

:: Glenn Miller and His Orchestra - Moonlight Serenade and Perfidia with the Modernaires [source]

:: The Big Band Serenade 62: Glenn Miller Radio Show June 25, 1938

:: The Big Band Serenade 71: Glenn Miller and His Orchestra live at the Glen Island Casino, New Rochelle, NY June 13, 1939

Cheers to those who went before!qs


  1. For cultures with Latin roots, tamales are perhaps the most important celebratory food in existence. Special tamales are regularly prepared for celebrations and feast days ranging from Christmas, New Years and Day of the Dead to Weddings, Christenings and Birthdays...

    Ready for a lesson in making tamales? Ready for your antijitos? Click my name!

  2. paperdolls? very cool. share more paper toys.

  3. Yes! Masa harina is the best, man!

    As for paper toys, keep an eye out, as I have many many many.

    Thanks for the comments!


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