1 November: Día de los Muertos and All Saints Day

Whenever we hear someone talking about a Danse Macabre we immediately think of a medieval fresco with the Grim Reaper wielding his scythe. Yet, in Ingmar Bergman’s “The Seventh Seal” those dead people didn’t seem at all sad as they danced with Death

So with this revelling spirit in mind, let’s fly over to Mexico where the “Día de los Muertos” is about to get into full swing. This festivity celebrates everyone: those who were killed, passed away prematurely or died in their mothers’ wombs. Should their souls return to the earth, they’ll be welcomed with yellow and orange flowers strewn over graves and streets, and with a myriad of tiny altars. The Día de los Muertos is a colourful fiesta whose purpose is not to emphasise attachment to life but, rather, the continuity between the here-and-now and the hereafter. After all, the purpose of All Saints Day, which falls almost at the same time in another part of the Christian world, is not to remind us of good practices, but of the impression these people left behind during their passage through life. Which is very vivid indeed.

The tape that keeps these different ‘cousins’ bonded together, despite their distant latitudes, isn’t that hard to find. Do you know which country the flower associated with the birth of births, that of December 25th, comes from? The famous Poinsettia is indigenous to… Mexico! Talk about “saying it with flowers”…

All Saints Day