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 Time to Clean The Bones of Your Ancestors?

Holidaysby Blue1Moon
AlienLove Staff Writer

It is if you are Mayan! Happy Halloween. Earlier this week RhiannonBrighid wrote a great article about ancient Celtic celebrations of Halloween and some of the history of Samhain (Halloween). There are as many different traditions as there are cultures. Most revolve around the belief that this is the time of year when the veil between our world and the world of the departed is the thinnest. Even modern day Mayans continue the tradition of cleaning the bones of their ancestors. Loved ones are now buried for a few years before the body is exhumed, and the yearly cleanings are begun.

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This tradition, believed to date back to pre-Hispanic Mayan cultures, continues to be taken very seriously, and is called “The Day of The Dead.” Two days are actually celebrated November 1st – when the souls of departed children return; and November 2 when the souls of departed adults return. Celebrations take place both at home and in the cemeteries, and include sharing food, singing, prayer, and the cleansing and polishing of the departed’s bones. Lisa J Adams, of the AP, interviewed several villagers including Antoino Hass, who said, “There is nothing to fear from the dead, it’s the living we should fear.” The bones are very gently and lovingly cleaned and are often put on display. If you don’t have time, there is even a cemetery employee who will do the cleaning for you for approximately $2 American, according to Ms. Adam's article. The villagers think of it as little different from caring for a living elderly relative and don’t understand the fear many people have about touching the dead.

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