Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

01 November 2016

Rides And Memories From The Day Of The Dead

I grew up thinking today was All Saints' Day.

Later, I learned that it was also called All Souls' Day.

Either way, it was the reason Halloween (All Hallows' E'en) existed.

Then I learned that those two days, and the one that follows are celebrated as Dia de Muertos in Mexico, and now in Mexican communities here in the US. 

Actually, only the southern part of Mexico, where Aztec and other indigenous cultures were still strong, celebrated it until the middle of the 20th Century.  Until then, the north--which was almost entirely Roman Catholic and mainly of European ancestry--commemorated All Saints' Day in a fashion similar to the rest of the Catholic world.  What that meant, mainly, was going to Mass and, for some families, a commemorative meal or other event for their dear departed.

I must say, though, that for a time in my life, it didn't seem to have anything to do with death--unless, perhaps, the weather was particularly gloomy.  Catholic schools, including the one I attended, were closed that day.  We were expected to go to church, but other than that, we were free.  At least, I was, because my family didn't do anything special for the day.

I can remember going for bike rides on the first of November, both as a child and as an adult.  According to the calendar, this day is the first day of the year's penultimate month.  Some years, the weather told us that the cycling season was winding down, or even on its last legs.  

Whatever the day was like, the sensual feast of October would soon be over and the more austere beauty of November would lead to rides that shortened with the amount of daylight available but grew in intensity, sometimes physically but more often emotionally.

Today I rode to work and  I might get to sneak out for a "quickie" before riding home.  Whatever I do, I am sure to think about not only my rides past, but also the people who rode (some of) them with me--and the person I was on those rides.  And, of course, about the rides ahead.  

Yes, on the Day of the Dead.

About the Images:  The first is the box from a special edition "Day of the Dead" Bicycle playing card set.  The second, third and fourth are by Heather Calderon and are titled "Hollywood Bicycle Woman," "Hollywood Bicycle Man" and "El Panadero", respectively. 


  1. In the United States November 1st is a Solemnity- Holy Day of Obligation that honors the recognized Saints of the Catholic Church. November 2nd is All Souls Day, not a holy day of obligation, but an important day to pray for the dead and the hope of their eternal salvation.

  2. Hi Chris--Thank you. I hope I didn't seem as if I were disrespecting the solemnity of the occasion.

    Amazing, though, what you can forget when you've been away from Catholic school for a while! ;-)