November First is known as Day of the Innocents in Mexico and is dedicated to children who have died. This is part of the Dia de Los Muertos celebration, where death & life intermingle for five days of festivities. On the Day of the Innocents, families celebrate the return of their lost little ones, who they believe visit the family home for a single day. Their spirits are greeted with food, toys and offerings in their honour. The other children in the family prepare alters for them the previous night, as their invitation to join the family for this single day of reunion.
I learned about The Day of the Dead, one of Mexico’s largest and most vibrant celebrations, during my last trip to Tulum. I had planned this trip to be a time for my own healing and restoration following the anniversary of my daughter’s passing, a time to slow down and be present for my own grief and experience. This trip however turned out to be far more healing & inspiring than I ever could have imagined.
Almost by accident, we came across an opportunity to learn more about the local culture surrounding grief and loss. We had the opportunity to tour grave sites, watch stories told with dance and talk with local people.
I was awe struck. I was in amazement of how different death was viewed here. I had never encountered anything like this. In Mayan traditions, death is vibrant, embraced and interwoven into the lives of the living. It is celebrated with full colour, costumes, parades, art, feasts and festivities. Instead of being covered in shrouds of black cloth and darkness, or kept hidden in the most private corners of family life, death seemed to be simply accepted as a part of life, and during these Days of the Dead, death was literally welcomed in the home, intermingling with family and literally dancing in the streets. And as a bereaved mother, the idea that a special part of such celebration being reserved specifically for the children and infants took my breath away.
In this video, I’m taking you with me through the Xcaret gravesite, the most colourful and playful resting place I have ever seen. I never thought I would have said this about a graveyard, but I seriously could have stayed there all day.
And in fact, people do.
During the Day of the Dead, family attend the gravesides, where they play music, dine and tell stories into the early hours of the morning.
I plan on going back next year and I would love to take you with me. So if you are interested in participating a gorgeous, restorative healing retreat, and experiencing the Day of the Dead first hand, consider this your official invitation to join me.