Cedar held the second day of ‘Life Lessons’ and all the Youth Health Champions turned up, including one more! This was not a surprise as it had been a captivating lesson that was held the day before, and so the participants seemed eager to learn more. On this day, we were introduced to the ‘Day of the Dead’, which sounds as if it is going to be about something morbid and yet on the contrary was full of colour, brightness, dance and festivity all celebrating life.
Observed in Mexico, as well as other countries such as Brazil and Spain, the culture of celebrating ‘All Hallows eve’, or ‘All Souls Day’ where deceased loved ones are honoured in remembrance and in celebration. The rituals and beliefs honoured world-wide were described and everyone enjoyed seeing an example of the festive, highly decorated Skull that was shown to them on an embroidered pillow.
We were also asked to bring in our own items of remembrance to show and talk about to the group. I brought my wedding bouquet, as it was made of dried flowers that was wrapped with a piece of lace that I had kept from my childhood. It was in remembrance of my mother. Other objects were shown such as paintings from close friends, token hand-made pendants and teddy bears that were all personal items that had close relevance to the individual who brought them in remembrance of someone they loved. It was wonderful to listen to other people open up and talk about their loved ones and explain how they were special or important to them.
The activities on this day were enabling everyone to get involved and open up personally if they chose to. We engaged creatively in making things and collecting objects and in doing so interacted with each other about death and loss in a comfortable way. We were learning about death but without feeling any pain or sadness. It was a new way of understanding and learning about a taboo topic of death – we discovered it could also mean remembrance, appreciation of life, not being in pain anymore and moving forward. All were eager to see what day three had in store, including myself!