Day of the Dead Enriches the Living
10.08.09 · Sonia Greteman
One of my most beloved days is approaching: Día de los Muertos. We recently set up our customary shrine in the office, built from years of collecting and personal submissions from Greteman Group team members. You can see some photos of the shrine here.
I first discovered Dia de los Muertos when I became fascinated with the art and life of Frida Kahlo. I visited her home in Coyoacán, Mexico and viewed her massive collection of the large skeleton puppets and figurines of Catrina (the Lady of the Dead with the large brim hat). I was not only attracted to the colorful, bizarre artistic expression but was captivated by the devotion given to the dead. I’ve since been accumulating these quirky hand-painted skulls, called calaveras.
Honoring Departed Loved Ones
In Mexico, plans for this special day are made throughout the year. People collect photos and memorabilia. They cook favorite foods to offer to the deceased. From November 1 to 2, they build altars and decorate with bright-orange marigolds, thought to attract souls. Families gather, tell stories and share anecdotes about the deceased. They wear their clothing. Have picnics at the grave site. Light scores of candles. They even stock the altar with their loved ones’ favorite tequila. In most regions of Mexico, November 1 honors children and infants, while November 2 is devoted to deceased adults. It’s the Mexican version of Halloween – without the commercialism and with a profound respect and reverence for dead.
We throw our Greteman Group version of Day of the Dead in the form of an authentic Mexican potluck. The feast, remarkable in its variety and creativity, is amazing; from moles (sauces) and sugar skulls to every kind of pepper dish and not to-be-be-forgotten guacamole. Our chefs rise to the challenge. They’ve learned a profound truth. By taking time to acknowledge and celebrate those who have gone before us, we live more fully.