Dia de los Meurtos

Hi! I’m Kerry, one of the Club’s newest recruits. I started working here after returning from a seven month round-the-world trip during which I ate, drank and explored my way across the globe. I’m also a freelance writer, and particularly love writing about the experiences I had on my travels. Enjoy!

Here at the Club we enjoy the good things in life, and of course life itself. But what if here on the earthly plane we’re only enjoying half the fun? It’s an uplifting thought that perhaps once we shuffle off this mortal coil, we’ll still be around somehow to keep an eye on our loved ones and receive the same love and admiration we did when we were alive and kicking – and in many countries, this belief has been held as gospel for generations.

We Brits aren’t the best at dealing with death. Bring it up at most British dinner tables, and you’ll usually be met with an awkward silence. Strange, considering that as recently as the Victorian era it was commonplace in Britain to pose for post-mortem portraits with the deceased, and for family to be responsible for ‘laying out’ the body before the funeral. Death is about the only unavoidable certainty in all of our lives. Could it be tackled differently?

Countries all over the world have their own unique customs around death and the afterlife, and on my recent trip I had the privilege of experiencing this from a few different angles. I checked out the desiccated, mummified remains of Chile’s ancient Chinchorro people and discovered all the different cultures who believe mummifying their dead will help them along in the next world. I explored Buenos Aires’ immense Recoleta cemetery, an eerie ‘city of the dead’ where winding lanes house crumbling mausoleums and marble sarcophagi decked with flowers. To me, it felt eerie and morbid to tread amongst the stacks of just-hidden corpses towering overhead, but for the Argentinean families who pay to have their beloved abuelos enshrined in above-ground vaults, it’s a comfort.

In Mexico, it’s tradition to honour the dead long after they’ve passed away, and there is a dedicated day every year to pay respects to absent family members. An annual fiesta that’s over 3000 years old, Día de los Muertos, sees local people take to the streets on November 2nd for a colourful celebration including feasting, dancing and making offerings to the spirits of the dead. It’s believed that all these festivities invite spirits back into the mortal realm for one night only, to share food and drink like pan de muertos and intricately painted sugar skulls. It should be noted that the spirits don’t actually eat the food – having no physical body, they can’t process the nutrients – but they do absorb the aroma of the food, and leave the tasty snacks for the still-living family to enjoy.

Altars are constructed in family homes, and decked out with foody offerings, photographs and sunny yellow marigolds. With the subject matter this could easily turn into a morose holiday, but the Mexican people have kept things upbeat, seeing Día de los Muertos’ iconic imagery gain global recognition and a spot on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

We’ll be celebrating at the Club, too, but first it’s time to recharge! Simon and Lucy will be relaxing and (hopefully) soaking up the sun on a two week holiday before re-opening on Thursday 9th November. A bit late to the party, but we hope you’ll join us for our Mexican Day of the Dead gourmet fiesta. On Saturday 11th November, we’ll be celebrating this colourful country’s unique culture and mouth-watering food with chilled margaritas, refreshing ceviche, flavour-packed steak and all the good stuff like patatas bravas and frijoles negras. (Find out more here). We’d love to see you there, and we’re hoping not to be troubled by too many hungry spirits! Kerry xx