Thursday, October 31, 2013

Virtual Altar

I don't get into Halloween... I really haven't since I was a child. Maybe because I chose a profession where there was so much illusion...Halloween just feels like another day at work. But several years ago, I belonged to a cooking club. The night I was to host fell on 10/30. In researching what to serve and knowing the group wanted to celebrate, I discovered so many things about All Hallow's Eve that made me come to love the true meaning of the day... stuff that seems lost on the majority of the world.

This was my introduction to the recipes of the evening for my group:

In Mexican lore, it is believed that a person is more alive after death; that life as we know it is some sort of dream state. Death is a beautiful thing to be welcomed. When the Catholic religion gained favor, it brought fear of death and the concept of hell. Similar to Italian All Soul's Day, it is believed that the souls of loved ones are allowed to return for a visit on November 1st and 2nd. Children and infants return on the 1st and adults on the 2nd. 

As the day draws near, each family prepares an altar or serving table to welcome their loved ones. It is decorated in brightly colored fabric, candles, photos of the departed, flowers (paper versions and real marigolds), sugar skulls to represent the living and the dead, and favorite foods of the departed.
Since my sister's 71st birthday would have been November 2nd, and she was never one to miss a good party, I thought I would post  a virtual altar to share.

For my sister, I will chose our mutual favorite photo:

I will leave her a "real" Coca Cola - something she loved but that diabetes took from her. I'll leave one from Mexico because it still has sugar in it and tastes like they did in our childhood.  I would leave her a pack of Winston cigarettes. Even though she quit smoking decades ago, in the last year of her life, she would frequently ask where her cigarettes were. And one of her winter vests that she gave me will be placed nearby; she was always cold. 

For my father, I would choose this photo of the two of us - my earliest memory from childhood:
For him, I will pick some lemons from my garden and place a shaker of salt. The dashboard of his car was lined with them. He kept a knife handy in the car and would slice a lemon in half, salt it and suck on it as he drove.  I'm going to leave him a clump of my own hair - I shed constantly - because he loved to stroke it so much.

And my beloved Maggie May - the dog that saved my life. I will place a photo of her in one of her Halloween costumes. She loved dressing up!

For my sweet girl, I will leave some cookies and one of the kerchiefs she loved wearing around the holidays. 

You have to admit, there is much beauty and comfort in this holiday when you look at the meaning behind it all! 

Who will you add to the altar? What will you leave them for their journey??? 



Mollie said...

Oh that was so lovely and heart felt :) Have a super weekend xxooxxx

Mollie and Alfie

rottrover said...

What a beautiful post. Thanks!

alohaallure said...

beautiful! I shall look at this holiday with joy from now on!! Here's to my dad, and sister-in-law, and to George - 'whom I've never met but look forward to meeting one day. (heard Pat looks just like him)
Beer and cigarette would be waiting for them...

and Sarah Jean - a steak

The Adventures of the LLB Gang said...

What a beautiful way to celebrate All Hallow's Eve...and honor your loved ones!

Pat Wahler said...

What a beautiful idea. I think every time we remember loved ones who have departed this life, they do live again.

Critter Alley