Everything You Need to Know About Día de los Muertos aka the Day of the Dead

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HISTORY OF TRADITION

Dia De Los Muertos is one of Mexico’s traditional holidays reuniting and honoring beloved ancestors, family and friends. It is an ancient and enduring ritual when the living commune with the dead – a mystical night when the veil is lifted between their two realms and they may share a day together.

The historical roots of this celebration date back to the pre-Hispanic cultures of Meso-America of the indigenous people, especially the Nahua (Aztecs, Mayans, Toltecas, Tlaxcaltec, Chichimec, Tecpanec) and others native to Mexico more than 3,000 years. When the Spaniards conquered the country, this indigenous custom was rooted so deeply that, after five centuries of colonization, it has continued to survive and remain as celebrated as in its first days.

Throughout each period in Mexican culture, death seems to hold no terror. In Mexican art, legends, and religion, death has not been a mysterious and fearful presence but a realistic recognizable character as much a part of life as life itself. Dia De Los Muertos expresses this perspective: it is not a mournful commemoration but a happy and colorful celebration where Death takes a lively, friendly expression and is not frightening or strange. There is no place for sorrow or weeping for this could be interpreted as a discourteous to the dead relatives who are visiting gladly.

Indigenous people believed that souls did not die, that they continued living in Mictlán (Place of Death) a special place for them to finally rest. On Dia De Los Muertos, tradition holds that the dead return to earth to visit their living relatives. It is believed that although these relatives can’t see them, they can surely feel them.

This night is an important feast and evocation. It is a time when family members share memorable stories that evoke the lives of their ancestors . Offerings and altars are created to welcome and commemorate the dead. Marigolds and incense are offered in abundance because it is believed their aromatic scents guide the dead to the place where the feast is being held. . A profusion of candles dispels the darkness just as the souls are being illuminated from the shadows of death. Altars are created with photos, mementos, fruit, bread, and other favorite things of the ancestors being welcomed and honored. The artifacts of these altars also provide the opportunity to teach children about those who came before them.

Dia De Los Muertos is a time of celebration on remembrance. It is also a time to come to terms with our mortality and become aware of the cycle of life and death. Rather than deny and fear death this event teaches us to accept and contemplate the meaning of mortality. “Life is a great surprise. I do not see why death should not be an even greater one.” 

“Life is a great surprise. I do not see why death should not be an even greater one.” 

http://m.eonline.com/news/476778/everything-you-need-to-know-about-dia-de-los-muertos-aka-the-day-of-the-dead

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Lou Reed Dead At 71, Rolling Stone Reports

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Legendary musician Lou Reed has died, Rolling Stone reported on Sunday.

He was 71

Reed is best known for his work as guitarist, singer and songwriter for the Velvet Underground, and his solo career. Reed had a profound impact on American culture, introducing avant garde rock and pop art to mainstream music. His work with Andy Warhol is noted as one of the most important collaborations in contemporary culture.

His cause of death was not immediately revealed.

Though the Velvet Underground saw limited commercial success in the 60s, their popularity grew tremendously in the subsequent decades. Rolling Stone named their eponymous album the 13th greatest of all time.

In 1996, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Born in Brooklyn in 1942, Reed spent most of his childhood on Long Island. Reed identified as bisexual and received electroshock therapy as a teenager.

He married artist Laurie Anderson in 2008.

Earlier this year, he received a life-saving liver transplant after experiencing chronic liver failure. Reed was open about his addiction to drugs and alcohol in his music. In one of his most well-known songs, “Heroin,” he wrote: “Heroin, be the death of me/Heroin, it’s my wife and it’s my life.”