Day of the Dead
The opening sequence of the James Bond film Spectre for many of us introduced us to the Day of the Dead celebrations.
Day of the Dead is an interesting holiday celebrated in Mexico during the chilly days of November 1 & 2. Despite its rather grim name, it is a day for honouring not mourning deceased loved ones.
The Mexicans believe that the gates of heaven are opened at midnight on 31st October so that the spirits of all deceased children (angelitos) are allowed to reunite with their families for 24 hours. On 2nd November 2, the spirits of the adults come down to enjoy the festivities that are prepared for them. Altars are made in each home, decorated with candles, flowers, and mounds of food, bottles of soda, hot cocoa and water for the weary spirits. Toys and sweets are left for the angelitos and cigarettes and spirits are offered to the adult spirits!
Day of the Dead is a very expensive holiday for Mexicans, many spend over two month's income to honour their dead relatives. They believe that happy spirits will provide protection, good luck and wisdom to their families.
Pension schemes and employers often provide valuable death benefits both in terms of the amount of money and the speed at which it can be paid. The 1st/2nd November are good days to check that your nomination of wishes forms are up to date on all your pensions; past and present.