They came with food; toffee apples, chestnuts and mulled cider.
They came with words; emotive and sincere; prophecies of the modern age.
They came with stories and laughter.
They came from round the corner. Some came from parallel worlds.
But most importantly they came with warmth and readiness to share at the fireside.
They were the visitors.
This Halloween we had many visitors at the Moss Side Community Allotment attending our Anglo-Mexican Day of the Dead celebration. On that night, we fused the traditional Mexican folk art of papel picado with the much closer to home tradition of carved pumpkins and handmade autumn lanterns. We brought stories and poetry to a flickering fire and an enchanted audience.
But we had also been expecting other visitors that night which is why we setup a traditional ofrenda or “offering” filled with the fruits of the harvest and candles and flowers. They don’t call it Day of the Dead for nothing. After all, for centuries in both England in Mexico it has been regarded as the one day in the year when the veil between the dead and the living is at it’s thinnest and thus the dead are able to commune with the living. I like to think they were there, rubbing their hands at the fire (though admittedly it was a warm night so they were probably knocking back cider in the back row, waiting for the apple-bobbing to commence).
Whether they were there or not, our event allowed us to acknowledge the end of the harvest and welcome in the new season of short days and long, relaxing evenings. Most importantly, it allowed us to celebrate our wonderful creative and giving community.