"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Changing Seasons

Yesterday we had a lot of rain - cold, hard grey rain that made everyone want to stay indoors and watch movies. We mostly stayed under the covers all day until it was time to light the candles for the Day of the Dead.

At our house, the combined  holidays of Halloween, Samhain, and Day of the Dead are a major event. My husband comes from Oaxaca, which is the absolute epicenter of Day of the Dead celebrations, and continuing that tradition is an important way of teaching our children about their Mexican heritage. It is a lovely holiday and we all enjoy it.

this year's Day of the Dead altar
a graveyard in Oaxaca, decorated for Day of the Dead
Halloween is big, of course, is big because our kids are prime Halloween age, being eight and ten. This year they introduced their Mexican cousins, the Tamagochis, to American-style Halloween and trick or treating. They took to it like ducks to water, and so with four trick-or-treaters, there is a shit-ton of chocolate in the house right now.

We also celebrate Samhain, albeit in a low-key way. I simply change my household alter, removing my Demeter icon, symbol of harvest abundance. We dress the altar for Day of the Dead, and when I undress it again, I put up Hecate, goddess of the underworld. In the modern Wiccan calendar, Samhain, a cross-quarter day, is the last night of the old year. The new year begins with the beginning of winter.

My Demeter icon, which I took down this week as the abundant season ends. 
The last way that I keep track of the seasons is by my own personal idiosyncratic method. These are the most intimate and the most real to me, being dependent on no invented calendar, but simply on the observed realties of this little piece of earth. By my reckoning, today was the official start of mud season.

Although it dawned clear and bright this morning, the effects of last nights rain were profound. There was standing water all over the place, and for the first time, I put on my galoshes to do the morning chores. The ground felt squishy and somehow broken, like a summer squash that has been frozen and thawed.

And oh yes! It was also the end of Daylight Savings Time last night, so that means we will be saying goodnight to the sun at about 5 p.m. The long dark is upon us. Better stock up on hot chocolate and propane!


Andy Brown said...

I felt the change over the last few days as well. In Rhode Island we'd had a long warmish autumn that's being cut off with a hard mid-20s freeze tonight. That should put a final end to this year's summer party.

Ruth Dixon said...

I love your blending of the different "holiday" aspects of this time of year. It's inspiring!