07 November 2007

All Hallows' Evening

Dia de los Muertos came and went without much ado in this corner of downtown Toronto. Little Halloween ghosties demanding trick or treat are scarce in urban high rise buildings. Is this the best we can do to remember an ancient holiday (holy day)?

In Mexico, the first two days of November (a.k.a. All Saints Day and All Souls Day in similar religious calendars) are marked with many traditions to honour the deceased. Foremost among them is the customary trek to the local cemetery to tend family monuments which may need weeding and paint and colourful paper decorations, but especially new flowers be they fresh or artificial. The exercise is in the nature of a family (and community) picnic. Depending on the locale, celebratory masses are not unusual. Nor are candlelight vigils, processions, a love for song, and perhaps fireworks displays.

How slightly dull and ancestrally-disinterested we North Americans seem in comparison.

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