Honor and Remembrance: Day of the Dead

By Eric Olson

October 28, 2013 Updated Oct 28, 2013 at 11:07 AM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Indiana--This is the annual ‘Day of the Dead’ celebration in Mexico, a celebration of life, despite the name…dating back to the ancient Aztecs. On this day families across the country honor their ancestors, often with small altars in the home, decorated with photos and mementos of people they love who have departed this life.

The Fort Wayne Museum of Art is again hosting a Day of the Dead observance with altars of remembrance. This altar, created by the Center for Non-violence, addresses an unfolding tragedy…the regular kidnapping and murder of women in Juarez, Mexico by the drug cartel. In 2011 alone 300 women in Juarez were murdered in the cartel’s continuing reign of terror.

This altar was created by the family of Sara Louise Smith driver, and here her photos are surrounded by the things she loved…she loved riding bicycles, loved cats…she loved cooking, lots of food and cooking utensils here. And she loved her red Volkswagen beetle, that’s here too, in spirit at least.

“These things are from the home life and they are very intimate and very loving,” says the museums Amanda Martin. “Some people keep photo albums some people write journals down. ..Each person has their different way of remembering. This is another culture’s way of remembering those that have died.”

We don’t talk about death in America, don’t like thinking of it…and don’t do a great job honoring our ancestors. Day of the Dead is a welcome change, introduced to this county by some of its newest citizens who bring with them their traditions, their admirable family values…and a long line of honored and unforgotten ancestors. Eric Olson, out in 21 Country.

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