Monday, 19 November 2012
The Day of the Dead by Karen King
One of the things I love about travelling is learning about the different customs various countries have. I usually come back with lots of ideas for stories, which unfortunately I rarely get time to write up.
I got married recently and we went on honeymoon to Mexico at the end of October. I was surprised to be see the above 'skeletons' in Cancun airport and couldn't resist taking a photo. Then I found that 'dressed up' skeletons were everywhere. Like these statues sitting outside a shop in Fifth Avenue.
There were even chocolate and candy skulls for sale. And 'warriors' walking around, decorated like this to represent 'life and death'. As you can see, half of him is decorated as a skeleton. He was very friendly though and happy to have his photo taken with me.
Then I discovered the reason why. It was just before the festival 'The Day of the Dead', which occurs on November 1st and 2nd. Mexicans believe that this is time the dead return to Earth to visit their families. According to legend, the souls of children visit on Nov 1st and everyone else on Nov 2nd. There are lots of celebrations and graves are cleaned and decorated, with offerings left for the visiting ancestors - toys for children and bottles of alcohol for adults! This might seem a little macabre but Mexicans believe that death is transition from one life to another in a different level, and at this time of year the dead and living can both communicate with each other. How fascinating if this could really happen, I can feel a story brewing already.
If you could meet anyone from the past for one day, who would it be and what would you say to them?
Karen King writes all sorts of books for children. Check out her website at www.karenking.net.
Posted by Karen at 07:30 Permalink