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 Dia de Los Muertos - Dear Mountain Room Parents

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Peter
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PostSubject: Dia de Los Muertos - Dear Mountain Room Parents   Mon 24 Oct 2011, 08:02

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Hi, everyone!

The Mountain Room is gearing up for its Day of the Dead celebration on Friday. Please send in photos of loved ones for our altar. All parents are welcome to come by on Wednesday afternoon to help us make candles and decorate skulls.

Thanks!

Emily



Hi again.

Because I’ve gotten some questions about my last e-mail, there is nothing “wrong” with Halloween. The Day of the Dead is the Mexican version, a time of remembrance. Many of you chose Little Learners because of our emphasis on global awareness. Our celebration on Friday is an example of that. The skulls we’re decorating are sugar skulls. I should have made that more clear.

Emily



Parents:

Some of you have expressed concern about your children celebrating a holiday with the word “dead” in it. I asked Eleanor’s mom, who’s a pediatrician, and here’s what she said: “Preschoolers tend to see death as temporary and reversible. Therefore, I see nothing traumatic about the Day of the Dead.” I hope this helps.

Emily



Dear Parents:

In response to the e-mail we all received from Maddie’s parents, in which they shared their decision to raise their daughter dogma-free, yes, there will be an altar, but please be assured that the Day of the Dead is a pagan celebration of life and has nothing to do with God. Keep those photos coming!

Emily



Hello.

Perhaps “pagan” was a poor word choice. I feel like we’re veering a bit off track, so here’s what I’ll do. I’ll start setting up our altar now, so that today at pickup you can see for yourselves how colorful and harmless the Day of the Dead truly is.

Emily



Parents:

The photos should be of loved ones who have passed. Max’s grandma was understandably shaken when she came in and saw a photo of herself on our altar. But the candles and skulls were cute, right?

Emily



Mountain Room Parents:

It’s late and I can’t possibly respond to each and every e-mail. (Not that it comes up a lot in conversation, but I have children, too.) As the skulls have clearly become a distraction, I decided to throw them away. They’re in the compost. I’m looking at them now. You can, too, tomorrow at drop-off. I just placed a “NO BASURA” card on the bin to make sure it doesn’t get emptied. Finally, to those parents who are offended by our Day of the Dead celebration, I’d like to point out that there are parents who are offended that you are offended.

Emily



Dear Parents:

Thanks to their group e-mail, we now know that the families of Millie and Jaden M. recognize Jesus Christ as their Saviour. There still seems to be some confusion about why, if we want to celebrate life, we’re actually celebrating death. To better explain this “bewildering detour,” I’ve asked Adela, who works in the office and makes waffles for us on Wednesdays, and who was born in Mexico, to write you directly.

Emily



Hola a los Padres:

El Día de los Muertos begins with a parade through the zócalo, where we toss oranges into decorated coffins. The skeletons drive us in the bus to the cemetery and we molest the spirits from under the ground with candy and traditional Mexican music. We write poems called calaveras, which laugh at the living. In Mexico, it is a rejoicing time of ofrendas, picnics, and dancing on graves.

Adela



Parents:

I sincerely apologize for Adela’s e-mail. I would have looked it over, but I was at my daughter’s piano recital. (Three kids, in case you’re wondering, one who’s allergic to everything, even wind.) For now, let’s agree that e-mail has reached its limits. How about we process our feelings face to face? 9 A.M. tomorrow?

Emily



Dear Parents:

Some of you chose to engage in our dialogue. Some chose to form a human chain. Others had jobs (!) to go to. So we’re all up to speed, let me recap this morning’s discussion:

—Satan isn’t driving our bus. Little Learners does not have a bus. If we did, I wouldn’t still need parent drivers for the field trip to the cider mill. Anyone? I didn’t think so.

—Ofrenda means “offering.” It’s just a thing we put on the altar. Any random thing. A bottle of Fanta. Unopened, not poisoned. Just a bottle of Fanta.

—We’re moving past the word “altar” and calling it what it really is: a Seahawks blanket draped over some cinder blocks.

—Adela will not be preparing food anymore and Waffle Wednesdays will be suspended. (That didn’t make us any new friends in the Rainbow and Sunshine Rooms!)

—On Friday morning, I will divide the Mountain Room into three groups: those who wish to celebrate the Day of the Dead; those who wish to celebrate Halloween; and Maddie, who will make nondenominational potato prints in the corner.



Dear Mountain Room Parents:

Today I learned not to have open flames in the same room as a costume parade. I learned that a five-dollar belly-dancer outfit purchased at a pop-up costume store can easily catch fire, but, really, I knew that just by looking at it. I learned that Fanta is effective in putting out fires. I learned that a child’s emerging completely unscathed from a burning costume isn’t a good enough outcome for some parents. I learned that I will be unemployed on Monday. For me, the Day of the Dead will always be a time of remembrance.

Happy Halloween!

Emily


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PostSubject: Re: Dia de Los Muertos - Dear Mountain Room Parents   Mon 24 Oct 2011, 12:17

Good thing I had finished my coffee before reading that. Priceless!!! Typically NOB stuff. Aren't we all glad that we escaped.

This one caught my attention:

Parents:

Some of you have expressed concern about your children celebrating a holiday with the word “dead” in it. I asked Eleanor’s mom, who’s a pediatrician, and here’s what she said: “Preschoolers tend to see death as temporary and reversible. Therefore, I see nothing traumatic about the Day of the Dead.” I hope this helps.

Emily
End quote

Now the interesting thing here, is that the expression estar muerto, does actually imply the notion of a temporary state of affairs, which is of course a religious idea. Now really when you think about it, the only people who don't actually deep down inside actually believe this are Buddhists and our friends who have publicly made the claim to be born again atheists. Something which truly endears them to my husband, also a sort of out of the closet atheist, although he doesn't actually put that in writing on a message board or a facebook page. Come to think of it, he doesn't have a facebook page, and never contributes to message boards. Hmmmm, is his atheism a commitment, or just an appealing idea?



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PostSubject: Re: Dia de Los Muertos - Dear Mountain Room Parents   Mon 24 Oct 2011, 17:00

by all outward appearances death does look rather permanent and except for some Hollywood movie plots also seems rather irreversible as well. Even the living dead are still "dead."

As I have spent most of my life as a fan a Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead I don't find it especially traumatizing but rather as a next and inevitable phase following life, not something that can be circumvented indefinitely. There are many who swear that death is not "permanent" and there is a more permanent place afterwards, others who feel confident they will just pick up a new body when the time comes and life will go on. I don't have any such convictions and have seen little that would convince me there is something "beyond."

Even though I have come to accept death as a necessary and inevitable part of life, or at least the next phase after living, and am basically OK with that notion I would like to put that off for as long as possible or at least for as long as life brings some joys and new experiences and is not excuciatingly painful or overly confining. Even if I could accept that I would live on again in another form I still have the idea that sudden and unexpected death would really be an inconvenience I would rather avoid until a more opportune time.

Being a "Dead Head", someone that absolutely loves the Grateful Dead, I've got to admit I really love Katrinas and think they are a wonderful decoration for my counters and nightstands.

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