Tag: Dia de los Muertos

Nov 1 2012

CFCA marks Day of the Dead, or ‘Dia de los Muertos’

In Latin American countries such as Mexico and El Salvador, it is customary to honor beloved family members who have passed away by celebrating Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).

In many places, people will spend all day today in the cemetery on what is considered a celebration of life, not death. The graves are decorated, and it is a time for family and friends to gather and honor the lives of their loved ones.

Here at our headquarters in Kansas City we have our own Day of the Dead display. Veronica Vidal, who works in our Sponsor Services department, prepared a place in our community dining room to feature friends and loved ones in the CFCA community who have gone before us.

CFCA Day of the Dead display, 2012

This year we honor the memory of two of our co-founders, Nadine Pearce and Bud Hentzen:

Remembering Nadine Pearce and Bud Hentzen, CFCA co-founders

Bud Hentzen died Nov. 30, 2011, and his sister, Nadine Pearce, died two months later on Jan. 30, 2012. We miss them deeply, but we also celebrate their legacy and everything they have helped CFCA to be during the last 30 years.

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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. Read more

Nov 2 2009

Dia de los Muertos

By Enrique Espinosa, Sponsor Services Department

In Mexico, it is customary to honor our beloved family members who have gone before us by celebrating Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Every Nov. 1, Mexicans celebrate the passing of children (12 years and younger). This is more of a private ceremony.

Nov. 2 is the traditional Dia de los Muertos, which people celebrate by setting up an altar in the Church or the family’s home, depending on the community tradition. On the altar, they place the deceased’s photo, their favorite foods (including fruits, vegetables, hot chocolate, pan dulce, tamales, pulque, atoli, etc.) and flowers. Then the family prays the rosary and a novena. Afterward, they play the deceased’s favorite music.

This is a joyous occasion because they are celebrating the lives of their loved ones, and the fact that they have moved on to a better, eternal life, sharing in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Day of the Dead fills a void
By Sheila Myers, Communications Department

The loss of a loved one leaves a hole in your heart. With time, you get used to living with this void, but occasionally, somethingñan aroma, a song, a situationñreminds you of the person and for a second, the hole closes and you feel oddly comforted.

Years ago, my husband and I discovered the Day of the Dead, a Mexican holiday when you lovingly remember departed relatives and friends.

The holiday has its roots in the Aztec culture. The ancient Aztecs embraced death and viewed it as a continuation of life. They believed that life was a dream and only in death did they become truly awake. Day of the Dead for the Aztecs was a month-long celebration when the dead came back to visit. After the Spanish conquest, the ritual evolved and spread to other cultures. It is now celebrated to coincide with All Souls Day in the Catholic faith.

For the Day of the Dead, Mexicans build elaborate altars for their deceased. They fill it with pictures and mementos of the deceased and decorate with colorful flowers, candles, brightly painted skull masks and whimsical skeleton figurines called ìcalacas.î

When I learned about Day of the Dead, I welcomed the opportunity to put our departed loved ones front and center in our home, to talk about them with our children and to reflect on the essence of their lives.

So in early October, we gather photos of our deceased relatives and set them out in the living room. Our display is plain and simple, unlike the beautifully adorned altars I have seen. It lacks the favorite food and drink of our departed family. We donít play their favorite music or burn incense. But it serves the same purpose.

When I pass by the display, their faces call to me. I stop and reflect, remembering them and how their presence shaped my life. And for a brief moment, the hole is closed.

CFCA celebrated Dia de los Muertos at our headquarters in Kansas. Employees were invited to bring in photos and mementos of their departed loved ones. Below you can see a couple of photos of our altar. We would like to invite you to share some memories of your deceased loved ones with us in the comments section.

CFCA's Dia de los Muertos altar CFCA's Dia de los Muertos altar