Day of the Dead Festival, The Secular Way
SAN DIEGO, CA – The traditional Day of the Dead celebration for 2014 is taking on a decidedly nonreligious atmosphere this year for area Hispanics and others from various cultures as the ever-popular Dia de los Muertos event goes SECULAR!
On November 2, 2014, the third day of the traditional three-day festivity, secularists will gather at the SeeScan Gardens, from noon to 3:00 PM. The location is:
3855 Ruffin Road
San Diego, California
The cost is $4 or $10 per family of four. Please RSVP by October 28, 2014 at:
“Contrary to the name, the Day of the Dead event is actually a celebration of Life,” said Victoria de la Torre, one of several organizers of the Secular Day of the Dead event. She is also a member of The Humanist Fellowship of San Diego.
Margaret Downey, another Secular Day of the Dead organizer and president of the Freethought Society said, “Nontheist Hispanics view the Day of the Dead as a perfect way to remember the legacy of deceased loved one in a way that does not require prayer, church, or any religious dogma. To nontheists, our legacies are our afterlife."
“More and more people are abandoning their religious upbringing, but still want to celebrate the beauty of their Hispanic culture,” de la Torre added. “This is why a Secular Day of the Dead was created. Many nontheist Hispanics want to continue traditions and cultural rituals, but in a secular way.”
Traditionally, the Day of the Dead celebration takes place on October 31, November 1, and November 2 in connection with the triduum of Hallowtide, which include All Hallows’ Eve, Hallowmas, and All Souls’ Day.
Margaret Downey is a recognized Secular Humanist Officiant. After attending Humanist leadership classes at The Humanist Institute and training sessions through the Council for Secular Humanism (CSH), Council Chairman Paul Kurtz certified her to conduct marriages and other secular ceremonies.
All couples who want to be married in a "guaranteed secular ceremony" through Secular Ceremonies must obtain a Self-Uniting Marriage License. Due to misinformation and the lack of training given to marriage license clerks, difficulties have arisen. Margaret Downey is happy to escort all couples in order to guarantee that the proper license is obtained and that clerks will not force the couple into obtaining any license other than the Self-Uniting Marriage License. If a couple attempts to obtain the license on their own, the couple must be prepared for possible difficulties. All secular/atheist couples have the right to obtain a Self-Uniting Marriage Licenses! Do not let an uneducated clerk tell you any differently. By law, you do not have to be a Quaker to obtain a Self-Uniting Marriage License! There may be confusion in due to a lack of education and proper training, but The Pennsylvania Human Relations Department has process several complaints and has promised to intercede should difficulties arise. Remember, you do NOT have to be a Quaker to get the Self-Uniting License and this is the only way that your secular ceremony will be recognized by the state of Pennsylvania.
“What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other.” —George Eliot
In every life, there are certain occasions that call for ceremonies -- weddings, the arrival of a child, the onset of adulthood, marriage, separation and finally, death. Recognition of these milestones mark one's passage through life and gives community and family the opportunity to come together.
As our society grows increasingly secular, so grows the need for personal celebrations that accurately reflect the beliefs of the individual.