Nov 2 2011

CFCA staff member celebrates Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)

By Henry Flores, director of the communications center in El Salvador

Henry and mother, Maria Teresa, at cemetery during Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)

Henry's mother, Maria Teresa, and Henry at the cemetery during DÌa de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).

Latin America is a land full of beauty, hard-working people and a great diversity of customs and traditions.

One of those traditions is the celebration of El DÌa de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead.

This has nothing to do with cults to the dead, but a day to remember family and friends and the moments we spent together while they were alive.

Cemeteries are usually lonely and cold places; however, this day they become alive and cheerful.

Families get together to visit them, bringing colorful ornaments and flowers to place on the graves of their relatives and loved ones.

Besides the beauty of people praying, singing and placing flowers, this celebration generates good business not only for those who make ornaments or sell flowers, but also for men and women who clean graves with water and detergent, paint them with nice colors and retouch the names of the deceased carved in wood or cement crosses.

My family and I usually visit the grave of my brother Julio, who is buried with my grandma Tona and grandpa Francisco. We like to arrive there early, around 6:30 a.m., to avoid the stress of many people and heavy traffic.

In my family we all have a traditional responsibility during our visit.

  • My brother Julio Ernesto is in charge of praying the rosary.
  • My wife, Roxana, helps clean the grave.
  • Children play, jumping all over the graves.
  • My mother, Maria Teresa, brings the flowers, and
  • I bring tools and wire to place the flowers in the cross.

Besides the beauty of being together as a family, this tradition gives us the chance to share stories and pass along the story of our family to our children.

After laughs, tears and moments of silence, we all left the cemetery with the sun coming up and the cheerful noise of people coming to visit their dead.

Even though my brother, grandma and grandpa are no longer with us, their spirit, love and blessings remain among us.

We had a nice family moment and the best of all, as every year, my mother bought us breakfast…

Main entrance to the cemetery during Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)

Main entrance to the cemetery during the Day of the Dead.

0 thoughts on “CFCA staff member celebrates Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)”

  1. Hola Henry!
    David and I were in Sonsonate on this day. We went to visit a cemetery near to where we stayed at Agape. we bought flowers from children as we entered and and found our way around, until we saw some graves that had not been decorated. we put the flowers on them and said prayers and just soaked up the experience. they were even putting more soil non top of the dirt graves, to make them higher and bigger, then decorated the earth with confetti! we felt very at home there with the hundreds of people of El Salvador. They were very accepting of us, even though we really stuck out like “foreigners”.
    we loved our three weeks in El Salvador,… Starting week one with you.
    Kathi Sircy (and David Wright)

    1. Kathi and David. It is so wonderful that you had the chance to visit El Salvador and joined us in one of our Mission Awareness Trips (MAT). Thanks for walking with those in need, specially the sponsored members in CFCA. May God continue to bless your footsteps. Peace.

  2. Hi Henry,

    What a wonderful family tradition. I like how you describe how the cemetery becomes a living, cheerful place for families to gather. We tend to treat our cemeteries as a somber place of recollection.

    On All Souls Day, the tradition at my parish – St. Jude Catholic Church, we take photographs of our deceased family loved ones and place them in the church for the month of November. Their names are written in our Book of Remembrance and we remember them during our Prayers of the Faithful at Mass.

    Take Care & God Bless,

    1. What a nice tradition at your parish, John. It is amazing to see how loved ones remain in our hearts and souls. I love the tradition of having their names in the book of remembrance! Thank you so much for being part of our CFCA family.

    1. Thank you very much, Eric. It is so nice to know that you have friends who also connect your family with our Latin American traditions. Thank you for being part of our CFCA family. Blessings.

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