Thursday, November 1, 2007

a is for ancestors

chrysanthemum, a blog that I enjoy nibbling on has used the alphabet as inspiration for post titles - I don't know if she was responding to one of those "blogging challenges" or if she just latched on to the idea. but as I look forward to a new month, I find the concept of the alphabet as my guide is just down right appealing - perhaps I've been watching too much sesame street. but regardless of my tv-viewing habits, my personal challenge is for the next 26 posts the title and topic will draw it's inspiration from the alphabet. I don't know if mouse readers figured out that in the past many of my post titles are drawn from song titles or a line from a song. I'm one of those people who's brain is wired strangely - if I hear "x" the next thing I know some song has worked it's way into my consciousness (anyone else suffer from this associative affliction?)

quite coincidentally there is no better day to begin this on than november 1st, seeing that in a great many cultural traditions november 1st is the day for honoring our ancestors. among many western cultural and religious groups november 1 is 'all saints day' (for catholics november 1 is considered a 'holy day'- as a recovered catholic & product of parochial school, all those holy days of obligation are permanently etched into my memory). a couple years ago I was in france on in the weeks preceding november 1 and was able to piggyback on a toussaints holiday trip to the provence with my sister and her family. and that was the year when I visited I honored many of my 'intellectual ancestors' with visits to the graves of camus, sartre, de bouvier, among others. I found it intriguing that the very secular country of france has a big deal holiday named all saints.

in the celtic tradition november 1 is samhain - and considered by some as the celtic new year or the celebration of the harvest and in the celtic lands there are many rituals which honor the dead on this day.
in mexico and in the mexican community in the US, november 1 begins the celebration of día de los muertos and in the spirit of honoring our collective ancestors, I offer this slide show from last weekend's cleveland día de los muertos festival.


jenclair said...

I think next year I'm going to make a bigger deal of Samhain and keep the idea of honoring the ancestors more clearly in mind. Dia de los muertos as well. I have quite a few blood relations and intellectual ancestors that deserve the honor of a specific ritual.

Thanks, Kim!

Reya Mellicker said...

Great post. I so look forward to the next 25 entries.

All hail to the ancestors of blood and of spirit! I, too believe they're standing just a little bit closer to our realm at this time of year than in other seasons. I burn candles, put out my favorite pictures, and "talk" to them, ask for advice, you know, and honor their memories.

A salute to those who have gone before!

lettuce said...

these pics are wonderful. A bit frustrating that they are so small. you should post them on flickr!