All the Good Days in God: Death Celebrations

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Death Celebrations

Dia de los Muertos is a popular festival in Mexico. We have all seen video footage of cities coming to life with Ofrenda and Calaveras. Ofrenda is a memorial altar with a picture of friends and family members. Seen in films, whether for the better or worse in accordance to plot, personal objects of the deceased are place on the altar. Calaveras are the skeletal dolls made of sugar or sticks depicting the dead continuing their life in the Spirit World. Parades or processions, Mexicans fill cemeteries with beautiful flowers and statues. Dia de los Muertos is full of loving sentiments while people cling to haunting cupcakes. I believe the sense of celebration evolves from dreams.

There are several people whom understand the holiday as being a part of the grieving process and equate it to the United States Memorial Day. On Memorial Day people go to family graves to leave flowers for relatives whom they no longer visit on a daily basis. The activity of visiting graves reminds them of the past, though truly when someone passes on a person feels an absence everyday while pondering an uncertain future.

Dia de los Muertos is different. It is a festival celebrating the life cycle and our passing into the Spirit World. When someone dies in dreams it means they lost a part of their life and there will be changes. In most dream forecasting outcomes are happy. Whatever it is we lose whether changing neighborhoods, changing schools or changing personal viewpoints the outcome is usually positive. Prosperity follows and we quickly learn losing part of our ongoing struggle is a chance to better ourselves especially when none of our friends or family immediately dies.

This tradition of seeing the after-life as a continuation of this life originates from the Ancient Aztecs Society though the concept of Spirits continuing to the after-life is an acceptable concept in several religions. Ideals of how individuals leave corporeal bodies and continue conscious life as a Spirit varies though acceptable to Catholics, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Taoist, and Jungians. Each religion or philosophy entertains this concept, even if an Aesthetic ideal of continuing learning for future generations. Conscious efforts of people living, thinking, entertaining and working today, enriches lives of the next generation. Almost always, the next passage of life is a happily anticipation of hope and betterment.

Becoming familiar with the Mormon Religion, after living in Utah for several years, Mormons believe families are spiritually bound to each other. When they pass on they will join several generations of their family. Some theorize each soul is predestined to be with the family to which they are born or adopted. There are additional methods to go to heaven (the higher plane of existence in which God and Angels live). Methods include marriage and bearing children. There is no obvious belief in Hell, yet there is a limbo in which lonely souls wander the earth and outer space. An intriguing and frightening thought the idea of an eternal family is comforting though I enjoy the idea of everyone being equal. Individuals make their own choices to live their own life now and in the hereafter.

I believe the after-life is similar to reincarnation. Dissimilar to Buddhism, a person does not become a human or animal depending on how they did according to this life. Spirits of humans and animals are interchangeable. There is a system of oversight; wherein, beings beyond the veil make decisions to benefit each soul by deciding what simulation best teaches people how to become a thoughtful being. This ideal might include short detention in holding cells for people who commit extreme evil to others or themselves so they might reflect on past actions. After a Spirit grieves and reflects they receive another corporeal body.

One day mechanisms making a person forget will dissolve. The true identity of the being and all of their past lives with reenter memory. Past teachings assist them in their immortal life. Life as we know it is a simulation and even death is a method to prevent actual death of a Spirit because the joys and dangers are much greater in the Spirit World.

Other religions and philosophies also agree this life is a type of training. Jungians theorize Intelligent Design. We are pieces of a greater wholeness. Experiencing life from various angles Spirits reunite in a Cosmic Cloud to achieve a goal of perfect understanding.

Shinto promotes the idea of Heaven and Hell as being goals we practice while alive. A person wanting Heaven attempts to make their life heavenly. A person wanting Hell is foolish and regardless of attempts to gain a heavenly life their life is hellish. Regardless of belief in the after-life most people chose to practice etiquette and learn how to make life heavenly.

This life is practice. One day the soul begins a new journey without a body. I am not sure if it is odder to think we continue in the same vocations from life or float around on clouds. Since we are who we are it is plausible our personality, humor and interests remain the same. Similar to fulfilling a position to maintain society we fulfill a position in society existing beyond the veil.

If God is good and God is merciful one day we all find methods to live peacefully forever without boredom. Perhaps concepts of after-life are only a sense we gain from frightening and memorable dreams wherein we die. Later everything is okay. Perhaps our dreams prepare us for death with the understanding there will be future celebrations.

Quirky Books
The Latino Holiday Book by Valerie Menard