Friday Fun: Why I Heart Dia de los Muertos

Image copyright Pamela Price

I’ve loved this Mexican holiday ever since the first time that I discovered it in the late ’80s. Before that, I was hung up on Halloween. (Note that this was before Halloween became ridiculously trendy.)

Ghouls, ghosts, spirits, bones… there’s something that I find oddly comforting about late Autumn customs acknowledging the dead. The imagery and traditions are a big, ol’ in-your-face-reminder that life is fleeting and sweet and that we should savor it, $%#^ it. Plus, I am drawn to the color orange–be it a pumpkin, a bit of bittersweet, or a big bunch of fluffy marigolds.

As I recall, even as a child I sought out scary stories. One of my favorites rested in the pages of a book that my paternal grandparents kept in their insanely creepy guest bedroom. Published by Texas Monthly in the ’70s, the slender volume laid out all the best creepy tales from Texas. My favorite story hands-down was the legend of the Devil coming out to dance with señoritas in border towns, revealing himself only by chicken feet sticking out from beneath the legs of his leisure suit. (Although the story is not well-known outside of the Southwestern U.S., it did make Snopes!)

You know, I’d give just about anything to get that book back. Actually, it may still be somewhere in that old house. Last I heard, it was being used to house hunters when the land was leased out during deer season.

Oh, well. I guess that I’ll have to content myself with memories of spine-tingling tales read under piles of family-made quilts, the sound of long-gone loved ones chatting and laughing along with my parents into the wee hours just beyond my bedroom door.  I’ll also make a point to snap photos of Dia de los Muertos paraphernalia spotted on the roadside in a small Texas town.

Just for thrills–and old time’s sake.

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