sometimes paradise is the day of the dead

The following video beautifully exemplifies the meaning and celebration of Dia de Los Muertos or Day of the Dead. It is a 2013 CGI Student Academy Award Gold Medal Winner Short Film HD: “Dia De Los Muertos” from Whoo Kazoo.!!

When I moved to Mexico, I became enamoured with the Mexican celebration of Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead. Despite, its rather gloomy sounding name, Dia de los Muertos is a joyful celebration.! Family members and friends gather with food and drink to remember, honor, and pray for their deceased loved ones. Basically, they invite the deceased back into their lives for an annual visit.

The holiday is celebrated October 31, November 1st, and November 2nd and is tied to the Christian traditions of All Hallow’s Eve, All Saint’s Day, and All Soul’s Day. However, it also has origins dating back to the Aztecs and their worship of the goddess Mictacacihuatl or the Lady of the Dead. Modern Catrina dolls symbolize the Lady of the Dead. Special foods beloved by the deceased, sugar skulls, and marigolds are placed on makeshift altars in homes and cemetaries to entice the spirits of the dead to return.! Hanal Pixán, or Food for the Souls, is also celebrated by the Yucatec Mayans at the same time.!!

Typically, October 31st, honors infants and children, and is called Dia de los Inocentes or the Day of Innocents. While, November 1st, honors adults and is referred to as Dia de los Muertos. I believe the reason this holiday struck a chord with me is because I have lost my mother and my brother. When my brother passed away 18 years ago, it was such a traumatic experience for my family.

In the beginning, we used to buy him presents for Christmas and his birthday and leave them at the cemetary. We would also bring him a slice of birthday cake. It’s not like we baked a whole cake for him. My brothers were/are twins, so we were making one anyway. It was easy just to bring a piece to his gravesite too.

But I remember, upon seeing this grief and mourning activity from my family, my brother-in-law told us, “You and your family are very tangible mourners.” That comment always struck a chord with me because in my mind I could not understand another way to mourn. My brother had always been in my life, how could I now just stop celebrating who he was and what he meant to me.? I could not. Nor could I when my mother passed away six years later.

So, when I discovered that in Mexico there is actually a holiday that tangibly mourns, remembers, and honors their deceased – I felt like I had come home. I was actually living in a country that understood my grief and was not afraid of it. And not only that they understood, but they too called out to their loved ones. Even though I am no longer in Mexico, I will remember my family tomorrow. Tomorrow also happens to be my father’s 76th birthday. So I will also be celebrating my dad tomorrow.! But I will remember to leave an extra piece of cake for my brother and my mom at the table 🙂

Enjoy the video.!! And Happy Halloween too.!!

sometimes playa is old school…

courtesy of Jeff Seratta

Playa del Carmen ferry pier past courtesy of Jeff Seratta/facebook.com

The photo above showcases Playa del Carmen when it was old school. Before 2005, Playa was just a small sleepy little fishing town. It’s biggest claim to fame was the port where you could catch the ferry to Cozumel.

Now it’s a bustling destination city on to itself. And the ferry pier has been modernized. Oh my, how times have changed.!

Playa del Carmen ferry pier now courtesy of periodistasquintanaroo.com

Playa del Carmen ferry pier present courtesy of periodistasquintanaroo.com

Tecate beer wall

courtesy of tecate.com

courtesy of tecate.com

It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a new Tecate commercial. So in the spirit of surviving this political season and celebrating the weekend – here’s a new Tecate ad.!! Enjoy.!! Y salud 🙂

sometimes paradise is grateful…

a quiet night...

a quiet night…

My friend P., the photographer not only took these beautiful photos last week after the Maja’Che, but she wrote the following post on her Facebook page –

“como esta zona de México depende del turismo, a las pocas horas de haber quedado hecha un caos entre árboles y basura en las calles, impresionantemente ya limpiaron todo! Ninguna tempestad o huracán ha podido tumbar este lugar sin que se haya vuelto a levantar… Buenos días Cancún! #proudofyou”

the morning after...

the morning after…

“as this area of Mexico depends on tourism, a few hours after having been in chaos among trees and garbage in the streets, awesomely and cleaned everything! No storm or hurricane could knock this place without having risen again … Good morning Cancun! #proudofyou”

So beautiful.!! And beautifully said 🙂

estoy camote.!!

As I have been super busy recently with my father – I thought we could revisit one of my favorite idioms from my time in Mexico. Especially since it translates to being busy 🙂 Enjoy.!!

howdoyousaytacoinspanish

camote or sweet potato courtesy of en.wikipedia.org camote or sweet potato courtesy of en.wikipedia.org

I love words and idioms and expressions.! And yesterday I realized that I had not yet introduced all of you to one of my favorite expressions from my time in Mexico.! So I think today is the day to make that introduction.! One day I was Facebook chatting with one of my male friends, we were bantering back and forth like a tennis match. But at one point, when he took too long to answer one of my messages, I sent him the following retort – “?????”. To which he replied, “Espérame, estoy camote.” Translation – “Wait for me, I’m a sweet potato.????” What.?!?

Apparently, in the Yucatán, if you are so busy that you are discombobulated or a little crazy, you can say “estoy camote” and it means “I’m busy”. It’s usually used by maseros or waiters when…

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sometimes paradise is a love song part 13…

Juanes and his song “La Camisa Negra” seem to fit my dark mood today.! Jajaja…but at least my mood and the song have a good beat 🙂

http://lyricstranslate.com/en/la-camisa-negra-black-t-shirt.html#ixzz48CQDXpsZ

English translation
the black t-shirt

“I have a black shirt
for today my love is in mourning.
Today there is a pain in my soul
because of your spell.
Today I already know that you don’t love me
which is the the thing that hurts the most.
I have a black shirt
and a pain that dwells within me.
It’s a shame that I am alone
purely because you lied
and also because of my damned bad luck
on the day that I first met you.
From drinking the malevolent poison of your love
I remain near death and full of sorrow,
still breathing the bitter smoke of your goodbye,
and since you left, all I have is…
I have a black shirt
to match the darkness in my soul
I have completely lost my cool over you,
Lost it right up to my bed.
Come-a, come-a, come on, baby
I say to you that the black shirt
disguises the fact that underneath I’m a corpse.
I have a black shirt
and already your love doesn’t interest me
Yesterday what I thought was pure happiness
Today I realize is pure ****
Wednesday afternoon you never showed up
and never gave me the least hint
so here I am with the black shirt
and your suitcases in the door.
It’s a shame that I am alone
purely because you lied
and also because of my damned bad luck
on the day that I first met you.
From drinking the malevolent poison of your love
I remain near death and full of sorrow,
still breathing the bitter smoke of your goodbye,
and since you left, all I have is…
I have a black shirt
to match the darkness in my soul
I have completely lost my cool over you,
Lost it right up to my bed.
Come-a, come-a, come on, baby
I say to you that the black shirt
disguises the fact that underneath I’m a corpse.
I have a black shirt
to match the darkness in my soul
I have completely lost my cool over you,
Lost it right up to my bed.
Come-a, come-a, come on, baby
I say to you that the black shirt
disguises the fact that underneath I’m a corpse.”

sometimes paradise is maja’che….

tormenta

On May 5th, Playa del Carmen experienced a storm or tormenta. The winds came suddenly, furiously and fiercely.

tormenta1

Maja’Che is the Mayan name for sudden winds that can knock over trees. My very brave friend P., the photographer, took these amazing photos. There are also some videos – I’ll see if I can post them soon. Also, there were some lovely calm “after storm” photos I’ll share next time too 🙂