Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Calavera

Who uses it: Celebrants of the Dia de los Muertos, the Mexican day of the dead
What it means: An ornamental skeleton, often just the skull (an example of synecdoche)
How you can use it: To impress friends with your cultural diversity, especially in Maine.

I didn't see any notices in the paper about Dia de los Muertos celebrations up here... if I wanted a sugar skull, I'd have to order it online.

My distant ancestors celebrated the new year on or about November 1 (they didn't use the Roman calendar, so dates of pagan festivals are always pretty arbitrary). It makes sense to me. I've said before that the fall always feels like the beginning of the year; whether that's because of the school year or because my birthday comes in late fall, I don't know, and it doesn't matter.

I need to get a couple of things out the door today, so I'm a little distracted -- I'm sure I'll be more interesting tomorrow. In the meantime, if you haven't read it, go order a copy of Kent Harrington's Dia de los Muertos, a very dark, wildly romantic crime novel that meets all the standards of classic noir.

4 comments:

Jim Winter said...

I reviewed DIA a couple of years ago when Dennis MacMillan rereleased it. Probably one of the scariest books I ever read.

Then this past summer, I read Les Roberts' A CARROT FOR THE DONKEY, which could be called DIA Lite. That is, CARROT merely made my skin crawl, and it was about the same subject.

AnswerGirl said...

The reissue (in trade paperback) is actually from Capra Press, a very small house based in Santa Barbara, run by the excellent author (and very nice man) Richard Barre. It's the only version of the book currently available -- you can order it directly from Capra (www.caprapress.com), or from Amazon. I proofed the galleys before that edition went to print, so if you find typos, I don't want to hear about it.

Les Roberts is an author I've somehow never gotten around to... I'll put him on my reading list.

Anonymous said...

In keeping with your beginning of the year idea, here in Singapore today we celebrated the Indian festival known as Deepavali (or Dewali depending on where in India you are from). My neighbors were a bit vague about the mythical provenance of the festival--the king/god Rama rescues his wife from an evil demon, triumph of good over evil, etc. (Hindu myths can get really complicated, really fast). I did learn that in India many businesses keep their accounts with Deepavali as first day of the year and it is considered auspicious to begin a business on Deepavali. Maybe you were just born in the wrong culture? CFK

AnswerGirl said...

That's probably a safe bet...