Sign on for Secular Day of the Dead festivities Nov. 2

Day of the Dead image

Join the freethinking community for a prominent Mexican celebration — being observed in a secular spirit — next week.

The 2022 Secular Day of the Dead/Día de los Muertos Secular festivities begin at 6:45 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday, Nov. 2, via Zoom — and everyone is invited to participate. To get your individual Zoom link, please pre-register at this link.

A Secular Day of the Dead/Día de los Muertos Secular event is a celebration of life. Nontheist Hispanics view the Secular Day of the Dead as a perfect way to remember the legacies of dead loved ones in a way that does not require prayer, church or religious dogma. This is why a Secular Day of the Dead/Día de los Muertos Secular event was created. The online event will be religion-free and will feature music, presentations, an honoring ceremony and socializing opportunities, as well as the awarding of gifts.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, Freethought Society, Center For Inquiry, Hispanic American Freethinkers and the American Ethical Union are co-sponsors of the event. Comedian Luis Alberto Torres Castro will present a bilingual skit as a pre-event treat to start things off. FFRF Co-Presidents Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor will join leading secular voices such as actor Jon Huertas and event organizer Freethought Society President Margaret Downey to welcome participants during this bilingual event. Noted author Fernando Alcántar will then have a presentation: “Free to Love: Life Lessons from Our Dead.” This will be followed by a Honoring Ceremony featuring dedications from distinguished guests and participants. To reserve a three-to-five minute time slot to celebrate a deceased loved one, please email [email protected] as soon as possible.

The celebration includes performances by Salvador Leon, Daniel Zepeda, Kaneko Leyva and Juan Antonio Garcia Hernandez. Attendees are encouraged to participate in the honoring ceremony. Prizes will be awarded to the best Zoom box decor, face painting, honoring table, and hair/hat adornment. 

“Many nontheist Hispanics want to continue traditions and cultural rituals, but in a secular way,” says Downey.

Traditions connected with the holiday include creating private altars called ofrendas to honor the deceased using sugar skulls and marigolds, as well as displaying the favorite foods and beverages of the deceased. Families and friends often make a point on this day to visit graves with these items as gifts, sometimes also carrying the possessions of the deceased. Secularists are not so different from the religious community when it comes to grief and the need to honor the life of someone who has died. 

“How fitting it is to reclaim the Day of the Dead/Día de los Muertos for secular reflection,” Gaylor remarks. “Secularists understand that the only afterlife that should concern any of us is leaving our descendants and planet a secure and pleasant future.”

On Wednesday, Nov. 2, life, legacies — and the joy of being human — will be celebrated with good cheer.


Freedom From Religion Foundation

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