After the wildness of Halloween, the racing and running, the sugar high, the monsters and witches and goblins and ghosts, the next day seems so quiet that I can hear the blood rushing in my ears. It’s a sign that I’m still alive, my heart still pounding the drum that keeps me moving. And I think of my ones, gone on ahead where no heart beats to remind them of life.
Amidst all the Halloween fright fest and fun, we shouldn’t forget that the holiday, or observance, or whatever you call it, is really about remembering the dead. Cultures like Mexico, that celebrate Dia de los Muertos, haven’t forgotten that. Some of my best memories of the small Mexican town in which I lived were at the cemetery on November 1 and 2. The warm night, the smell of basil and marigold and candle wax, the soft sound of women chatting, of a band playing a song at a graveside. I thought it seemed so comforting to visit the folks who’d left this earth. And I wished my culture had such a celebration.
At Samhain we are reminded that to neglect our honoring of the dead is to stifle their voices, smother their stories, invalidate the tangled tapestries of their lives. It is to commit a crime against memory, piety, and honor.
People all over the world honor the dead during this time of year, calling the celebration by different names. All Saints Day. Dia de los Muertos. Day of the Skulls. Dziady. It’s important to them.
Because we’ve all lost those we love, and seek somehow to find them.