White Dog lives in an area of our country where Native tradition holds that white dogs are spirit animals and often when we travel the back roads her presence (and Quinn's) prompts humans to make "good luck" gestures and turn away from her. The mix of ancient cultures and their rites is one of the things we find most intriguing here in the Southwest.
To most, today is merely the day after Halloween. In our home, it is El Día de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead). The Day of the Dead is a Latin, Mexican and Mexican-American celebration of deceased ancestors which occurs on November 1 and November 2. The origins of the celebration of The Day of the Dead in Mexico can be traced back to the indigenous peoples of Latin America, such as the Aztecs, Mayans Purepecha, Nahua and Totonac.
Despite the morbid subject matter, this holiday is celebrated joyfully, and though it occurs at the same time as Halloween, All Saints' Day, and All Souls' Day, the mood of The Day of the Dead is much lighter, with the emphasis on celebrating and honoring the lives of the deceased, rather than fearing evil or malevolent spirits. Marigolds decorate homes and graves, a sweet bread shaped like bones is baked (Pan de los Muertos); generic sugar skull candies are given and eaten during the celebration. There are parades featuring dressed skeletons and music. Everywhere families and children take their favorite photos of loved relatives passed over out for a stroll "to see what is new in the neighborhood."
Tonight White Dog and The Other White Dog joined in the commemoration and enjoyed the abundance of food (wouldn't want the dead ones to think we are too poor to honor them properly) and drink (hey, it gets dry resting in the sand here) and good spirits. At this holiday, White Dogs are welcomed and petted and secrets are whispered in their ears. What is said? Both WD and TOWD are keeping their messages for later tonight when they will howl out the word in the yard.