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Episode 007 has Materialized!
Feliz Dia de los Muertos!
Some time ago we decided it might be fun to do a Halloween episode, if for no other reason than that it’s one of our favorite holidays.
Even at our age, there’s something seductive and alluring about this chance to put on a mask and be someone ... or something ... other than ourselves. Beyond the jack o'lanterns and kids trick-or-treating, we -- as baby boomers -- still find it a tantalizing time.
Of course we wanted to bring you something a little off the beaten path, out there beyond common knowledge ..."beyond the pale." That's what we're about. One celebration that's fascinated us for years has been the fabulous Day of the Dead -- or "Dia de los Muertos" -- that falls on November 1st and 2nd. We love what we've seen -- those incredible painted skull-faces, brilliant altars and all-night parties. One of the biggest and most impressive celebrations is right here at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery , which has been going on as long as we can remember. It draws quite a crowd, and looks like great fun.
But we've always viewed the celebrations from a distance. Beneath the colorful surface, we had no idea what it was all about. So we ventured over to our local graveyard, and sat down with an amazing woman: Adela Marquez, who works at Hollywood Forever and is one of the organizers of the extremely popular Dia de los Muertos celebration.
Adela explains that Dia de los Muertos has roots reaching back over three thousand years to the Aztecs, and has merged with the Spanish All Souls Day and All Saints Day on the first and second of November. It has traces of human sacrifices, Medieval Catholic offerings of pan de muertos, or bread for the dead, and the festive traditions from the Mexican Revolution of 1910.
Join host Julian Simmons as we venture into a 100 year-old mausoleum and learn about the origins and meanings of those skulls called "Calaveras" and "La Catrina ," the stunningly scary "Lady of the Dead" who haunts the graves. We learn about the true meaning of the holiday -- a joyful celebration to greet the souls of our lost loved ones, who are able to return just for a brief visit on these two nights, when "The veil between the living and the dead is the thinnest." We'll learn the symbolism of those bright orange strings of Marigolds -- marking the path for the spirits to find their way to the party.
Mixed in with all this, we talk about the ancient pagan rites of Samhain (pronounced “Sau-win") , the day named in honor of the Celtic Lord of Darkness, which dates back as far as 2,000 years ago in Ireland and England. There are some intriguing echoes in Samhain of the Aztec belief that this moment -- the end of the harvest and the beginning of the "Dark Time" -- is also when the dead come visiting. Followers of Samhain still offer "soul cakes" to their spirit guests.
We hope you will listen along on our fascinating journey into the unknown.
Happy Halloween, a Blessed Samhain,
y un Feliz Dia de los Muertos!
You can listen now on our player below, or by clicking on "Listen now," or pick your favorite podcast platform on the Where to listen page.
Some imagery from the Dia de los Muertos, courtesy of Adela Marquez:
La Catrina. Photo © Piero F. Giunti
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