MÁS VALE TARDE QUE NUNCA – AN ALTAR FOR THE DEAD

MÁS VALE TARDE QUE NUNCA – AN ALTAR FOR THE DEAD

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http://it-farmacia.com/informazioni-su-viagra.html IMG_2210[1]The expression ‘más vale tarde que nunca‘ (better late than never) is what comes to mind when I think of my endeavors to create an altar for El Día de los Muertos for the first time in my life. The altars, or ‘las ofrendas’, which many Mexicans build in their homes to welcome the dead, run the gamut of simple to elaborate, the elaborate ones piled high with cempasúchil, photographs, food, drink and trinkets glimmering with candlelight. Perhaps in keeping with my British roots, mine is modest but still bright with colores alegres — joyful colours — which remind me of Mexico. As 2015 has been chosen to celebrate a collaborative exchange between Mexico and the UK, it seems fitting that photos of my English grandparents and great-grandparents flank the crystal vase of marigolds, their images flickering above the vibrant silk flowers. For the website photo, I’ve set the altar up in my parents’ garden, a place where I whiled away many a lovely hour with my grandparents. I’ve also included clementines, star anise and iced cookies we used to buy in England. With her ‘Ay, Rosa — es muy bonita tu ofrenda’, my Mexican mother-in-law has given her approval, so I know it can’t be too bad. Setting up my altar in the chilly, evening wind, I can’t help but think of all the wonderful times shared with those being honoured.  My mother pulls up a garden chair to watch and chat. My father, relieved to see I’ve opted NOT to include the Fry’s Chocolate Cream bar in the offering, hovers nearby. And my youngest son leans over the candles so the gusts of wind won’t snuff out their flames. This altar, as simple as it is, brings the living to its light, initiating a peaceful moment for three generations — five once my grandparents and great-grandparents arrive.

http://cinziamazzamakeup.com/?x=acquistare-viagra-online-generico-100-mg-a-Firenze IMG_2388[1]As well as constructing altars in their homes, Mexicans create similar offerings at their loved-ones graves where they spend the night from November 1st to the 2nd, eating, singing, chatting and reminiscing.  Of course, my grandparents’ and great-grandparents’ graves are an ocean away, so I can’t do the same.  Ergo, the garden, it has to be. And — well — of course the classroom too, though I diminished the altar to fit the setting, adding figurines of Catrina and her companion as well as string lights and LED candles to avoid having open flames in my basement.  In the latter half of my beginners’ night class, we ate pan de muerto and watched two segments of a BBC documentary on El Día de los Muertos while the altar twinkled away in the corner. The students were fascinated to see the Mexicans’ embracing of death, the odd nostalgic tear was shed and one student said she might set up an altar in her house for the occasion. Unplugging the string lights at the end of the night, I was so happy I’d delved into a cultural celebration which had been there all along — just untouched in my busy life.  Más vale tarde que nunca.  Better late than never.

click here It seems ironic to me that I’m writing about this Mexican tradition in English (though that way, any English-speaking reader can understand), but even more ironic that my next entry, and final one for El Día de los Muertos, El Reencuentro, for which I laid out an incredibly simple and very British offering for one of my two grandparents, came to me in Spanish.  Life is strange. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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