All right. You have all heard me gush about how much I love zombie movies, and Romero in particular. I don't think I have to get into it on this shirt, as cool as it is. Instead I will talk about DÃa de los Muertos, the Mexican Day of the Dead.
Contrary to all rational and logical thought, this day has little to do with zombies. It's also not really about being depressed about death. Instead it is a celebration of dead ancestors and friends, with wooden and sugar skulls, candles, and music. I have been to a few and have to say, it is quite a party. Lots of fun, and a chance to remember dead friends and relatives in a very positive way.
Another weird thing about it is in spite of being called Day of the Dead, it actually stretches over three days. It starts on Oct. 31st and goes until Nov. 2nd. This is considered a compromise as it was a month long in the old Aztec culture. Still, I think we could do with more holidays that stretch over a few days. When you think about it, Western holidays are more or less compartmentalized into a single day so that we can absorb them in bite sized digestible chunks without having to interrupt the precious work week too much. Seems like a lot of other cultures and religions have holidays that go for a week or more and involve a lot of partying.
Something I really like about El DÃa de los Muertos is I can actually pronounce it. You see, I have what some cultures (like Russian, as I found out from a really bitchy Russian teacher I had for about six weeks) consider a speech impediment. I cannot roll my R's. This is called the alveolar trill by uptight linguists, incidentally. Apparently I could learn to do it if I practiced, so I will throw that on the pile of projects that I will get around to when I have a ton of free time. Meanwhile, I continue my policy of avoiding saying anything in Spanish that has a bunch of R's in it.
If you hope to go to a celebration check out these fairly simple instructions on how to make your own Day of the Dead. Of course, you could just show up and eat a lot, but really you have to get into the spirit of the thing (no pun intended).
Here is a 90 minute video on Day of the Dead. I admit I only watched a few minutes, but from what I saw it looked pretty cool.
Ok, I couldn't do an entire description on Mexican holidays. Check out this Day of the Dead Brokeback Mountain spoof video. Kind of funny. If you liked it you would probably love this Shining spoof. I think it's hilarious.
January 29th, 2011
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