Let the love live on

Virginia Russell, Opinion Writer

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If you ask most people about Día de los Muertos, you might end up with a blank stare or, even better, the “Oh, that’s Mexican Halloween! Right?” Well, I’m here to tell you this holiday is not a “Mexican Halloween” and that we need to start educating ourselves about it. Now.

For starters, Día de los Muertos is a Hispanic holiday, and while it does primarily take place in Mexico, it is not about Halloween whatsoever. Don’t be fooled by the skulls and masks; this holiday commemorates the lives of the deceased and allows the living to visit and reunite with them. It is a period of remembrance, but more so, a celebration of life and death, and how death should be looked at in a joyous light, not a somber one.

Still wondering how this applies to your life? Well for starters, about 36.3 million people in the United States are of Mexican ancestry, which means, whether you’re aware of it or not, someone you know probably celebrates Día de los Muertos by spending time with family, making ofrendas and preparing special dishes. This holiday is again, a celebration of love, so how do you celebrate the people you love? Do you give them hugs, buy them presents, or send them cute birthday texts? What about the ones you love that are no longer here? The ones you may not be able to text or touch? Are they any less important because they aren’t physically here? We must keep the memories of the deceased alive, remember the things that made them so special and amazing, which is exactly what Día de los Muertos is. It’s a way of giving love and respect to those people.

Of course, death is a part of life and death is hard and unfair. People are taken too early from us or in extremely awful ways. However, if we forget those people or only circle around their existences with sadness, it’s like a slap in the face to their lives. We need to cherish and be thankful for the time we did get to love them because life is short and there’s no excuse to waste a day by not celebrating it.

I will leave you with a quote from Coco, an amazing movie about Día de los Muertos, “Remember me, and let the love that we have live on.”

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