Monday, November 01, 2004

Weasley, This that and all that Jazz


I so wanted to finish the back this weekend, but I did not. I am about 6 cm from starting the neck shaping on the Weasley Sweater. Here is Cosmo admiring my work. This week I should be able to finish the back and begin the front.

The Day of the Dead,

Día de los Muertos, a festival celebrating the reunion of dead relatives with their families.Every year, on November 1st (All Saints Day) and 2nd (All Souls Day), something unique takes place in many areas of Mexico: Day of the Dead festivities. While it's strange for most of us to accept the fact that "death" and "festivities" can go hand-in-hand, for most Mexicans, the two are intricately entwined. This all stems from the ancient indigenous peoples of Mexico (Purepecha, Nahua, Totonac and Otomí) who believed that the souls of the dead return each year to visit with their living relatives - to eat, drink and be merry. Just like they did when they were living.Tempered somewhat by the arrival of the Spaniards in the 15th century, current practice calls for the deceased children (little angels) to be remembered on the previous day (November 1st, All Saints Day) with toys and colorful balloons adorning their graves. And the next day, All Souls Day, adults who have died are honored with displays of the departed's favorite food and drinks, as well as ornamental and personal belongings. Flowers, particularly the zempasúchil (an Indian word for a special type of marigold) and candles, which are placed on the graves, are supposed to guide the spirits home to their loved ones.

Other symbols include the elaborately-decorated pan de muerto (a rich coffee cake decorated with meringues made to look like bones), skull-shaped candies and sweets, marizpan death figures and papier maché skeletons and skulls. (the Nahua speaking peoples of pre-columbian Mexico saw the skull as a symbol of life - not death.) Today, these macabre symbols and other similar items fill the shops and candy stalls by mid October. During this time, homes are often decorated in the same manner as the graves.

This may all seem morbid and somewhat ghoulish to those who are not part of that culture. But, for Mexicans who believe in the life/death/rebirth continuum, it's all very natural. this is not to say that they treat death lightly. They don't. It's just that they recognize it, mock it, even defy it. Death is part of life and, as such, it's representative of the Mexican spirit and tradition which says: "Don't take anything lying down - even death!"

(I found the above explanation from
Saturday I went to check out the festivities. In the center there were many alters made up to honor and celebrate loved ones that had passed on. They had pictures and stories to read about their loved ones. Some personal items were on the alter along with things they liked. Here is a picture of one of the alters.

Along the outside were booths of artists and people selling things and symbols of the Day of the Dead. I bought this art print called “My Little Cat”. I plan to frame it and hang in honor of my cat Pusskins whom I lost and miss dearly.

I also picked up four postcards made by the same artist.

Top Left is La Mujer “The Woman”, Top Right is “Freda En Muerto”
Bottom Left is “Love at First Sight”, Bottom Right is La Corrida “ The Run”

I thought they were pretty cool. I might frame the four of them together. Overall it was a neat experience. I enjoyed looking at all the alters and reading the stories about the people they were about. Maybe next year I might do an alter myself for the pets in our family that we have lost and would like to spend some time with them and celebrate the life they had with us.

Let Women have a Voice
This is why I am voting this Tuesday November 2nd

Over the course of 72 years, thousands of determined women circulated countless petitions, and gave speeches in churches, convention halls, meeting houses and on street corners for suffrage. They published newspapers, pamphlets, and magazines. They were harassed and attacked by mobs and police. Some women were thrown in jail, and when they protested with hunger strikes, they were brutally force-fed. Still they persevered. Finally, on August 26, 1920, they won their goal with the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

These women sacrificed and were tortured so that one day we would be able to have a voice and vote. For me I do not care who you vote for, just that you vote for whom you believe in. This is your right as an American Citizen.

Ok Jumping off my Soap Box. If you are interested in learning more about the history of Women Suffrages, you can read about it here. In addition, there is a movie I watched this year called The Iron Jawed Angels made by HBO that documents this period. I highly recommend it. Learning about Alice Paul has forever changed my life and she is a true hero and inspiration to me. She is one woman of many from this period of woman suffrage.

I am excited to vote and let my voice be heard. I will be the one in line dressed in Red, White, & Blue. 8)


Blogger Jeri said...

Hi Tami, I love your blog! I'm over in the Texas Panhandle and do needlework (quilting, embroidery, and knitting) and have dogs running out my ears. Loved your discussion of Dia de los Muertos. Great stuff! I'm looking forward to reading more of your posts.

10:12 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

Dia de los muertos celebracions also include massive food prep. Families cook A LOT of food and take it to their family gravesites to offer the food to their relitives that have passed away.

I should also mention a woman named Victoria Woodhul (I can't remember the exact spelling, hope I got her last name spelled right), who helped women enormously in our fight for equality. She was the first woman who spoke infront of Congress and the first to run for President.

10:51 AM  

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