Two lovers have a spiritual awakening while celebrating life and death in Mexico
What happens to the soul once it dies? Do we transcend into another existence or do we simply fade away into nothing? I didn’t understand either one of those concepts. My life was complicated enough without abstract arguments that had no solution. Oaxaca was a place where life and death lived as one in peaceful coexistence. We traveled here during one of the most festive weekends of the year – Dia de Muertos. I had a different understanding of the celebration meant where I came from but here I would learn about the deeper roots of the tradition.
The party began once the sun had disappeared from sky. The night before we had went to the cemeteries and watched families visit the graves of loved ones, offering small gifts for their spiritual journey. I spoke with some locals using my broken Spanish to have a small conversation about how they celebrated the holiday and its popularity in Oaxaca. They explained it was about guiding friends and family members on their spiritual journey and for a brief moment, you could feel their presence again. It was about love and lasting bonds even after we leave this Earth.
The pedestrians became adorned with marigold flowers with the faces painted as decorative skulls. Vendors were in abundance, selling colorful strippers and toys for children and souvenirs for tourists. There was music being played out in the streets and as the sky grew darker, the crowds got bigger. Small altars would greet you by the door of many different stores and hotels with small offerings for the dead. I could the smell the aromas of roasted corn and sizzling assortments of meats on the grill.
We made our way to the grand church in the square as everyone waited anxiously for the festivities to begin. The crowd began to move into the streets and the real party has started. The band led everyone through the streets and we march into the night. I held my love’s hand as we began to dance in the streets with the same infectious happiness as the families around us. We danced in the streets and our smiles could not be contained.
The party went on for hours. The crowds became to thin and we made it back to the hotel where another gathering was just beginning. There was a gathering of people around the courtyard, sitting on pillows and the rug around a small stage of two musicians. As the moments passed, the crowd grew quieter as if the ambiance had subdued them into submission. The music began and the energy in the room began to change. The walls had been covered in a red glow with small lights around the edges and staircase.
Everyone is the room became in-tuned with the sounds around them. People had taken their spots on the floor around the two musicians, prepping their equipment. We became drawn to it. My love brought closer into their embrace and we closed our eyes to become one with the music. I felt the energy in my body change. It was as if my body was only to lift off the ground. I felt like I was made from air. It was working like sage to cleanse of the negative thoughts that pollute our minds. My breathing became light. I could feel our hands intertwined with the other but I can tell you had succumbed to the music as well. Our hearts became one with the rhythm and what felt like an eternity of mindfulness, we awakened. The music stopped and everyone woke up from their trance. Our souls had been awakened with a new sense of purpose and tranquility. Tonight was about celebrating the lives that have past but that are also still here with us. We celebrated our love and where that journey had taken us.