Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Somerset Hills

Open minds, loving hearts, helping hands


Follow up to a time for all ages 01NOV15: Uncle Monarch and the Day of the Dead- and sugar skull decorating!

Author Sarah Ahrens, Written Nov 11, 2015

As the calendar turned from October to November, the theme of ancestry- what does it mean to be a people of ancestry- came with the new month.  A theme that fit well with the worship service on Nov 1 as it included some learning on the Dia de los Muertos celebration in which many parts of the United States, Central and South America engage.

The time for all ages was the story, Uncle Monarch and the Day of the Dead by Judy Goldman.  Lupita learns all about Dia de Muertos from her Tio Urbano and helps in the preparation of the celebration.  Tio (Uncle) Urbano teaches Lupita that the monarch butterflies are embodiments of the souls of deceased loved ones- and thus one should never harm a monarch butterfly.  Sadly, Tio Urbano passes away and Lupita must continue future preparations for the Day of the Dead without him.  However, after the following year’s Day of the Dead rituals, she sees a monarch butterfly perch on Tio Urbano’s gravestone to which Lupita smiles and whispers, “Good-bye, Tio Urbano, my uncle Monarch, I’m sure I’ll see you next year.”

I wonder if Lupita continued to wait for and watch the monarch butterflies year after year.
I wonder what are some of the ways you and your family remember and honor relatives who have died.
I wonder how we as Unitarian Universalists remember and honor our UU ancestors.
I wonder if we can remember to honor the values and beliefs they passed down to us when we see monarch butterflies.

Other stories you might like to read related to Dia de Muertos are as follows:

Felipa and the Day of the Dead by Birte Muller
Day of the Dead: A Mexican-American Celebration by Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith
Day of the Dead by Julie Murray
The Dead Family Diaz by P.J. Bracegirdle

I also mentioned my experience of witnessing an All Souls Processional while I lived in Tucson Arizona.  While related and having some elements of Dia de Muertos, it is somewhat different.  Here is a link to some more details on the All Souls Processional of Tucson Arizona.

And thank you to Rev. Jennifer for going to great lengths to make sugar skulls for an after service activity to continue the learning and experiencing of Dia de Muertos rituals.  And thanks to Karina La Malfa for helping set up and oversee the sugar skull decorating!IMG_2868 IMG_2871