Rituals + Remembrance at OMCA

One of the most complicated parts of life is the inevitable, loss. In time we know we will lose someone and we ourselves will be a loss to someone when we depart. How we deal with this often depends on our beliefs and culture.

Rituals + RemembranceThe tradition of Dia De Los Muertos is celebrated every year from October 31 to November 2nd. This is when people take the time to honor the deceased who are believed to return on November 1st (children souls) and November 2nd (adult souls). It’s a way of embracing death as the continuation of life. Altars are created in celebration and include “ofrendas” to please the souls during their return. They can include some of their favorite things, food, flowers, skulls, water, incense, and photos. Although it’s often associated with only Mexico due to our proximity, it originated in Mesoamerica (Central Mexico down to Northern Costa Rica) over 1,000 years ago.

The Oakland Museum of California explores this tradition and how other cultures honor their deceased in their exhibit, “Rituals + Remembrance”. The work represents elements of Buddhist, African American, Filipino, Hawaiian, Japanese, Chicano, and Latino rituals.

Rituals + RemembranceA cross takes up one of the walls with the words “No Olvidados” (Not forgotten) donated by the Border Angels organization. They’re an all-volunteer, non-profit organization advocating for the human rights of all people. Every year there are many deaths along the border due to dehydration, weather and hate crimes. Simply providing water along migrant crossing routes has combatted some of the preventable deaths that include adults and children. You don’t have to know someone to grieve them.

Rituals + RemembranceTucked in one of the corners are giant photos with a rainbow painted on the floor. This is dedicated to LGBT relatives who had to either hide their true selves or not be fully acknowledged. Their partners were often referred to as roommates, friends, or not at all. We put so much pressure on each other to live a certain way even though we know our time on earth is not infinite.

Another wall is covered with shadow boxes created by participants of the Maternal Access and Linkages for Desired Reproductive Health (MADRE) program entitled, Nuestros Angelitos (Our Little Angels). Each shadow box includes memorabilia of children they lost during pregnancy or at birth.Rituals + Remembrance

There are many more dedications and emotions explored including one created by MetWest High School, where students searched and honored their ancestry. It will have you thinking of your own losses and how others will one day remember you.

You have until January 3, 2016 to check it out. http://museumca.org. OMCA is free all day the first Sunday of every month.

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