Los Dias De Muertos (The Day of the Dead).
A brief over view of  Dias De Los Muertos: there are four days when Mexican people are hosts to the dead, especially those who have died within the last four years. Those souls are making the 4 year trek in the afterlife on their way to nothingness.  On October 27th tortillas and water are put out for those souls who have no family to visit with them. October 28-29, those who have died in accidents, violence, other unhappy manner, their offerings are set outside away from home where unpardoned souls might be visiting. Tamales with spices and a glass of tequila, along with flowers to draw the unsettled souls are left out. October 31st. the home is where one welcomes the souls of babies and children who had died and their paths home are strewn with marigold petals, their favorite toys are put out and played with by the surviving children. November 1st to November 2nd, a vigil through out the night, (all soul's night is followed by all saint's day) is held at the cemeteries, which are decorated with streamers and flowers, and Pan de Muertos, bread of the dead. November 2nd folks visit each other and eat the food that had been used in the offerings. This tradition predates the Catholic Mission's influence. It goes back to the Aztecs. It is said that Christian rites of the dead come from Egyptian practices of honoring Osiris, the god of renewal and death, and grain. All these symbols are passed down through Christianity and merged with the existing Aztec beliefs that this life is but a dream, a short dream on the way to non being. Warriors would become butterflies and humming birds flying around the sun, along with women who died in child birth, fighting the war of species survival. All others are destined to wander for 4 years through 9 underworlds to get to the state of non being. During these 4 years candles are burned at the family altars and some small comforts of home are shared with the wandering spirits. The survivors can have time to address their loss and resign themselves to life without that loved one. After the days of the dead are done, the spirits that might be lingering are driven off by singers in costume, who sing humorous songs about the newly departed. For the rest of the year the dead leave the living alone.  If I've made any mistakes here I apologize in advance.

I am not of Mexican heritage, but I live in California, so I suppose that counts. I always thought rather than this celebration as being morbid, it is actually very loving and sweet, and often fun and outrageous as  wandering minstrels go from home to home singing funny songs about the dearly departed. We've all lost loved ones. It is a nice thing to think of them for a couple of days in the year.

Another apology is the color quality of my scans. The scanner gives everything a greenish hue, unfortunately. The bananas are really
yellowand the tangerines orange/red.

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