Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Mexican Day of the Dead: A Blood Bond to the Spirit World


November 2, 2021

Traditional Maya Day of the Dead altar in Valladolid Yucatán De Marysol* -, CC BY-SA 2.0,

It is October and the shrubs in my backyard begin to show signs of the inevitable New England foliage. As usual, this yearly ritual of nature is underpinned by an organic cadence which is as true in my adopted Boston as it is in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, or the beautiful vistas of the Southwest. Just as deep, widespread, and breathtaking is the Mexican holiday cycle of rejoining with our beloved departed, otherwise known as the Day of the Dead, to be observed from October 31st - November 2nd.

Underneath all the gradual changes and distractions of the change of season, a torrent of memories and dormant spirits stirs within me, with sounds of old melodies bouncing in my head, and the unexpected aroma of hot fruit punch with allspice fills my nostrils, an ambush of warmth and nostalgia. I know the time has come to pass these joyful sorrows of cultural heritage to my sons. As I reflect back, I am unsure where to start.

How do I explain to them that the finality of death does not apply to the Mexican ethos? Furthermore, how do I show them that we as Mexicans actually feed off that pain, to carry us on until we reunite again with our beloved departed in the land of the spirits.


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