I feel lucky to have grown up in Southern California. I remember the citrus packing houses, the sweet scent of orange blossoms, red berries bursting from low-lying vines at roadside strawberry fields.
Disneyland was just a few miles from our home. As a kid, I was mesmerized by the park’s snowcap Matterhorn Mountain. It’s peak seemed to almost touch the sky. On some days, as we drove by the amusement park, I’d spot Alpine climbers scaling the enormous mountain.
So what does Disneyland have to do with Dia de los Muertos when the Day of the Dead is about honoring the memory of our loved ones?
For me, everything.
After W.W. II, Dad worked as a cement mason. During the construction of Disneyland, he poured concrete foundations for some of the attractions, including the basin of the submarine ride. I think of Dad each time we stroll along the sidewalks of Main Street U.S.A., and again when I walk by the blue lagoon in Tomorrowland.
When I was six years old, she filled enough Blue Chip trading stamp books and took her six kidlets to Disneyland. I can still see her licking those stamps and pressing them into books. I can only imagine her excitement when she redeemed the stamps for park tickets.
Now, each time we visit the park, I drag hubby off to Fantasyland to ride Peter Pan’s Flight. And when the pirate boat sails through Wendy’s bedroom then dips out the window and off to Neverland, I’m six years old again and Mom is sitting beside me, pointing at all of the magical lights below.
Do you celebrate Dia de los Muertos? If so, how do you honor/remember your loved ones?