Remembering The Walking Dead dead for Day of the Dead

calavera. pixabay.
calavera. pixabay. /

The Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday to remember those we loved who have died. What if we celebrated El Dia de los Muertos on The Walking Dead?

We’ve suffered quite a bit of loss on The Walking Dead in the last few weeks and over the last few years during the zombie apocalypse. Day of the Dead is celebrated in Mexico on November 1st and 2nd, coordinating with the Catholic holidays of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.

Day of the Dead is not a holiday that we celebrate in the United States, but let’s imagine for a moment that we did. It shares the word Dead in the name, right? Day of the Dead, The Walking Dead. Let’s go with it.

I’ve written quite a bit about the connection between Day of the Dead and zombies and Fear the Walking Dead explored some of the cultural implications of the Mexican attitude toward death when the Abigail sailed south in season 2.

Calavera Catrina. Jose Guadalupe Posada. (1852-1913)
Calavera Catrina. Jose Guadalupe Posada. (1852-1913) /

Let’s imagine with the new communities that the group decided to build an altar to remember those of their loved ones who have died since the apocalypse began. A traditional altar for Day of the Dead consists of cempasuchil flowers (marigolds), the flowers of the dead, candles, photos of the dead, food, fruits, water, toiletries, images of saints, incense, and other items meant to refresh the spirits of the dead, lead the dead back to visit with us, and help them enjoy their visit.

Related Story: Celebrating the death that comes for us all

In the apocalypse, many of those items would be difficult to find, but the concept could be followed. The Kingdom could provide fruit for the altar. They wouldn’t want to make it too showy as far as light and smell because they wouldn’t want to draw the undead to the celebration while they guided the spirits of the dead to be with them. But they could have small candles and the soft smell of the flower petals.

The most important part would be the personal items to help remind them of the people they’ve lost. They don’t have photos or items that belonged to those people, but that shouldn’t stop them.

Related Story: Wedding symbolism and day of the dead

Part of a traditional altar includes papel picado, which is a cut tissue paper garland. They could cut the shapes of some items into the papel picado. Things like Tyreese’s beenie or Dale’s hat could be great papel picado decorations strung from tree to tree.

papel picado.
papel picado. /

Perhaps for Jim and Jacqui the group could have Judith start practicing coloring and teach her how to draw or color the letter J and put that on the altar. Judith could be a big part of the celebration coloring a mermaid for Amy and a rainbow for Sophia.

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A baseball cap for Glenn. Some nuts for Abraham? A can of Orange Crush for Denise. Some oatmeal for Reg and Noah. It might take some thinking, but I’m sure that someone from the group could come up with something to remember each person who has been lost. A weapon, an item of clothing they might have liked if they had lived, a food they loved, something that person would enjoy if they returned to the celebration.

Just skull cookies with names written across the foreheads as is common for children to do in Mexico would be a lovely way to remember those who have died.

Perhaps they would have a great time staying up all night in the cemetery as is also common in Mexico and they could talk about how some of the people who never met might have gotten along (or not).

Next: Day of the Dead art and zombies

A plus with Day of the Dead decorations is the mocking attitude toward death. Day of the Dead art became popular using Victorian era dress. Skeletons with fancy clothes saying you may be rich, but you will die just like the rest of us.

They can take that mocking attitude to the apocalypse by creating skeletons with Negan bats and leather jackets. Skulls with Governor eye patches–a ZA voodoo, if you will. You think you’re really something,, but death comes to us all. That’s a very real truth in the zombie apocalypse.

Day of the Dead is a way to celebrate death and life at the same time. For Mexicans, it is a way to take fear out of death. A way to face death. The zombies make the survivors face death every day. What better holiday for The Walking Dead than El Dia de los Muertos?