Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos in Spanish, is a colorful, celebratory holiday that mixes the macabre with the mundane and the magical. A day to remember, honor and celebrate those family members, friends, pets and even strangers who have passed.
It happens about the same time as Halloween hijinx and mixes some of our spooky shenanigans with Mexican rituals, but, without the fear of those that have moved on. Although ghosts and skeletons play important roles, it is an enchanting and not so creepy portrayal of the un-living. Parties gather in cemeteries, bestowing offerings for those who have moved on.
Triporati Producer Gwynn Gacosta just returned from a remarkable trip to the Philippines to fulfill her mother’s final wishes. She wanted to scatter her mom’s ashes in the river where she used to swim as a child. The funny, challenging and poignant journey is captured in her own words—a blog post we wanted to share with you:
Final Resting Place
I planned my funeral, once, when I was ten years old. I decided that I would be cremated, and my ashes sprinkled in all five oceans. (Not only was I morbid, but I was also grandiose.) My future husband would travel around the world, leaving bits of me wherever he went.
My mother died 5 years ago of heart failure, and she told me that she, too, wished to be cremated. She also wanted her ashes taken to her hometown in Bulusan, Philippines, then scattered in the river where she used to swim as a child. Immediately after she died, I started the process of making that wish a reality. The funeral home placed her remains in a plastic box wrapped in a silk sheath so that it would go through airport security without hassle. I wrote to my relatives in Bulusan and told them the plan. To my surprise I was met with protests from my family, led by the parish priest, who insisted that she would never be at rest unless she was buried somewhere where people could actually visit and reflect. Since no one in the family had the money to go anyway, we put her final wish on hold and her urn on the mantle. But I always knew that one day I would take her. She had counted on me. Continue reading »