© Michelle Chan
This post might come a little late, but about a month or so ago, I saw the Disney Pixar movie, Coco, in theaters. I had heard it was a good movie, but it blew my mind in more ways than one. Other than the fact that the movie focused on the importance of family (alive and deceased), there were so many similarities between how Mexicans/Latinos and Chinese people honor the deceased!
Coco is all about the importance of remembering and honoring deceased family members on Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). The movie shared that by having pictures of ancestors placed on the alter, along with candles and food, the deceased continues to live on in the afterlife. Just like how those of Mexican/Latin American ancestry celebrate deceased loved ones by remembering them on Día de los Muertos, those of Chinese ancestry who engage in ancestral worship also remember deceased family members by placing their pictures on alters. On 2 specific days of the year, along with big lunar year holidays, the deceased are offered specific foods and incense along with joss paper (a.k.a. "ghost paper") are burned. (Joss paper are sheets of paper or paper-crafts that are seen as currency/material goods that can be used for the afterlife by deceased ancestors. It's believed that when incense and joss paper are burned, it's then received by deceased family members for their use in the afterlife so that they can continue to rest and live well.)
It was truly beautiful and heartwarming to watch Coco, as I could relate to the sentiment of how important it is to take the time to remember and celebrate deceased loved ones and ancestors who have made bigger impacts on our lives than we could ever imagine. I can only imagine how much this movie means to those who celebrate Día de los Muertos. From now on, that day will be another reminder for me to take time to honor my past family members while cherishing those I still have with me. What a wonderful reminder of the importance of family, especially around the holidays!
Do you and your family celebrate/honor past loved ones? Please comment below to share!
“Unable are the loved to die. For love is immortality.” – Emily Dickinson