Friday, November 1, 2013

Dia de los muertos

Today in Latin America we celebrate Dia de los muertos, the day of the dead. In Mexico, where the tradition originated, they have extensive and colourful celebrations. Back in El Salvador, I remember relatives and friends talking about the day when they go and clean the graves of loved ones. Cemeteries are a real buzz that day! My most vivid memory of a cemetery is from 1989, if my memory serves me correctly. It was Saturday 4th November, when, as part of our local choir we actually sang mass at the cemetery. This was in the metropolitan area of San Salvador, somewhere in Ciudad Delgado. A week later, on Saturday 11th November, the guerilla movement (FMLN) launched a major offensive against the government, which saw many cities such as Ciudad Delgado come under the control of the FMLN. My mum couldn't believe it, when the news came through, of what was unfolding - the many power outages was proof of the fact! To think that, just a week before, we had been walking through one of the areas most heavily affected by the conflict. Luckily for us, the local army base left the town as they had been warned, and as a result, the guerillas had no enemies to fight. We only suffered from lack of water and electricity. At a funeral service yesterday, the celebrant recited that one needs to hold on to our faith, of whatever denomination, to help the healing process. For me, it's important to hold on to the traditions of our ancestors, which are now part of our culture. Our culture gives me comfort and a sense of timelessness and heritage, that our children will inherit and be proud of.

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