Happy Dia de los Muertos, to those who celebrate it.
I never felt compelled to celebrate it until today, but no, I don’t have a shrine or anything. That’s mostly because I didn’t even know it was today until this morning (I know, yet another thing to put in my “I’m a bad Mexican” files). My immediate family has never celebrated it, and I’m an atheist (though my family is Catholic), so it’s never been a tradition for me.
But it is something I’d like to start doing in the future as I renegotiate my Latina identity. Perhaps it’s because, as of this year, all of my grandparents are now dead. I liked hearing my paternal grandparents tell me stories about their lives growing up, and I do have 20+ pages of my grandmother’s oral history recorded. I never knew my maternal grandfather because he died before my first birthday. I could never truly communicate with my maternal grandmother because she only spoke Spanish, and my Spanish is fragmented. I could understand a lot of what she was saying, but I couldn’t speak back to her. When she descended into dementia as she got older, a lot of her history was lost.
Only now am I truly starting to regret not having learned all I could learn about them and their experiences.
(Photographer unknown (Felipe Tofani, maybe?). You can see more of these gorgeous photos at Pristina.org.)