Today I am invited to a sugar skull making party, a Day of the Dead parade, and a baby shower (yes, the expectant couple sent invites featuring themselves and their baby-to-be all done up as traditional "muertos" or skeletons!). Do you celebrate this holiday? It's become very popular in California, where we have such a strong influence from Mexican culture. I think everyone (including myself) embraces it both because it mixes fun (candy! face painting!) with a very serious subject, and because there is really no other modern holiday that honors those who have passed.
This year I was absolutely shocked to experience death first hand, and I realized how much we sweep under the rug in American culture. My mother, who is from rural Ireland, was much more acclimatized to certain aspects of the experience, because death was not hidden in the old country (at least in the old days). It's one heck of a hard thing to embrace, and I really understood why there is so much humor in the traditional Day of the Dead statuettes and characters- humor is the only way the living can really deal with death.
I was looking around for face painting ideas and found this arresting image. The source is unknown.... but wow. Beautiful.