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Byron Shire
June 19, 2021

A chance to remember those we have lost

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Zenith Virago at the 2014 Day of the Dead ceremony at Crystal Castle.
Zenith Virago at the 2014 Day of the Dead ceremony at Crystal Castle.

The Natural Death Care Centre (NDCC) will be holding its rescheduled annual Day of the Dead (DOTD) event at Crystal Castle on Sunday, December 6.

Now in its ninth year, the ceremony is an opportunity for everyone to come together to honour and remember our loved ones who have died, are dying, or are lost to us in some way.

And if it seems to have come around again quickly that’s because it was scheduled for November 8 but had to be postponed due to wet weather.

This year’s event will go ahead, rain, hail or shine, but in case of inclement weather will be held at the Mullumbimby Civic Hall.

Although our north coast Day of the Dead bears the same name as the South American day, organisers say it is ‘a uniquely Australian cultural experience, open to any religion, spirituality, belief or culture’.

‘A chance to focus on life and death, and to create positive social and cultural change, the DOTD is particularly wonderful for teaching children something real and gentle about death and bereavement with out the rawness of a recent death or funeral,’ says NDCC’s Zenith Virago.

‘We offer this event as part of our ongoing cultural change, to bring death, dying and loss back into our own hands and hearts.

‘As individuals and as community we are all touched by loss, and we see the need for people to honour and remember those they have loved who have died, recently or a while ago, without the shock or the rawness of the funeral.

‘We offer this day towards healing and acceptance. Death is the natural and sacred end of our lives, and those we love are always a part of our lives as they live on in our hearts,’ Ms Virago said.

day-of-the-dead2014144From 5-6pm there will be an inclusive Ceremony of Remembrance with Zenith Virago, and the Grail Choir.

At the close of the ceremony, an additional opportunity for those who can, to walk the Rainforest path in a silent procession to the Sacred Grove to leave any crafted mementos, so they can slowly return to the earth. Children are welcome, but please keep them with you during the ceremony.

You are invited and encouraged to bring photographs or a special something for the shrine.

Entry to Crystal Castle will be free from 3.30pm, and 4pm you are invited to write a message, create a memento, or add to the community shrine for loved family members or friends. Local community artist Sam Collyer will be on hand to inspire, guide and help with her organically themed and sustainable creativity.day-of-the-dead2014182

The NDCC charity has an inspirational dream, that every individual, community and service provider has the knowledge and capacity to ‘do death well’.

‘We believe in a holistic, empowered approach to death, dying and loss. Death can come suddenly or unexpectedly. It is the natural and sacred end to our lives, it will touch us all and those we love,’ Ms Virago said.

We are encouraging people to be informed of their options and to make good choices, and to participate as fully as they choose, which we see makes for an easier bereavement.

For more information and updates on location and weather conditions visit naturaldeathcarecentre.org

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