Tuesday night was the second Oxford Day of the Dead. The idea to have our own Day of the Dead came from my partners celebration of May Day, (every year at 6am on the steps of the Bodleian Library) which I thought could do with its counterpoint at the opposite side of the year. On May Day we all don green clothes, bring our instuments and dancing shoes to the steps and the Hurly Burly Whirly Band play in the Spring with folks tunes, old and new.
Day of the Dead sees us don black, bring our instruments and dancing shoes to the steps at 6pm in the evening and a far more somber incarnation of the Whirly Band play out the Summer...
For me this time is to remember Death, the one certainty of existence. A time to remember our ancestors, near and far, and any who have died.
In honouring Death, we remember that we are alive. The dancing is therefore of sorrow and fear, but also of a deep, burning exstacy.