Tuesday, November 08, 2011

dia de los muertos

Another day, another Day of the Dead. On Saturday, Robbie and I hit the event in Santa Ana, which featured dancing, face-painting, costumes and traditional altars in ebullient color and masks of the merry macabre. It is a festival that celebrates life and mocks death as a jaunty jester; inevitable but not inevitably permanent, as the spirits of the dearly departed are summoned and guided with offerings of food, drink, arts and entertainments, that they may once again partake of earthly delights and, if so inclined, intercede on behalf of their loved ones. Traditionally, marigolds are strewn from the cemetery to the door of the house, the better for souls to follow their yellow and orange-hued paths home. The ghosts are not seen, but their presence is felt, I am told, in the movement of tissue paper cutouts of wreaths, crosses and flowers.

I had a great time. We laughed, we ate, we drank. We admired the beauty of the costumes and the wisdom of centuries. It's a melancholy sort of mirth, but all comedy is famously born of tragedy, and it is probably what has kept the human race from committing collective suicide over many a bad century. It is a warm, happy, familial festival that embraces the journey of mankind. Death may be inevitable, but love is eternal. Until, of course, the death of the last to love, who leaves none behind to build altars of devotion or flowers to light the way back to the warmth of the living. What, I wonder, becomes of them.

I placed my marigolds, but no one followed the yellow brick road home to me. Must be the Santa Anas - those damn devil winds are blowing again. Not even the living are easy in their skins.