Photos: Dia de los Muertos preparations for the annual tradition of honoring the deceased on October 31 begin Nov. 1 with a two-week mourning period that ends on Oct. 31—the anniversary of El Jefe’s death. (Photo courtesy of the city of Santo Domingo.)
For a small country, Dominicans are very proud of their Dia de los Muertos celebrations. They celebrate to honor the dead on the last day of October, and the city of Santo Domingo celebrates in a similar fashion on October 31st. And what does it all mean? It means that the spirits of those who have died this year, and all who have died by the thousands, move on to the afterlife right away, rather than going through the trials and tribulations of the afterlife in the spirit world.
You may have heard of the day before. Many of you have. Many of my friends have died, have been killed by gang violence, been assassinated, or been killed by a loved one. I lost both of my parents when I was young. My mother died in 1992, but I couldn’t go to the cemetery to see her since I was too young. I went to visit her every year for the two years that I lived with my grandmother, and she said nothing when I did. Not one word. I was so proud to have her as my mother, but it really didn’t seem like that to her.
I would go to her house every year and she would say, ‘Don’t go, my child. Go on to school. And never come to see me.’ I remember my sister telling me that she had told her mother that I was going to my aunt’s house to visit her, and that I was going to stay with her for a while. But she never said anything to me about it. It was not a surprise because I knew about my sister. She was always very observant. I understood why my mother didn’t want