I discovered to my joy, that it is life, not death, that has no limits. —Gabriel Garcia Marquez

The Day of the Dead

When I graduated from college, I spent a year and a half teaching and living in Guatemala. That November, to celebrate the Day of the Dead, I went with a few friends to Santiago Sacatepequez, a town roughly an hour outside of Guatemala City. We were headed to a kite festival. The people on the colorful bus we took were loaded down with ropes and wreaths made of marigolds, the flower of the dead. When we arrived, it was a short walk to the cemetery. People laughed and chattered, vendors sold food, drinks, and kites. No one cried or seemed sad. The whole thing had a carnival atmosphere.

The Festival In the Cemetery

The cemetery was lined with above-ground tombs, and people climbed atop them to eat their picnic lunches and watch (or fly) kites. I bought an octagonal kite and sent it into the sky along with the hundreds of others, including one enormous one that was easily the size of a two-story building. The kites were meant to represent souls flying up to heaven, and it was beautiful to watch their bright colors dance against a brilliant blue sky.

The Great Beyond

This is what remains with me when I think of the Day of the Dead: that joyful day, that feeling of death as transcendence, as a journey to the beautiful blue beyond.

In Tarot, when the Death card turns up, it signifies a change, a rebirth of something new. Perhaps this Day of the Dead will bring joyful memories you wish to record, or perhaps it will bring a change and a new way of looking at life or your craft. And if you are starting NaNoWriMo, good luck!