FFF Blog

Archive for October, 2010

So, what exactly is the “Day of the Dead”?

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Ok, so with our upcoming “Day of  The Dead” fundraiser quickly approaching  (Date: November 2, 2010
Time: 06:00PM, Location: LOLA in Denver -1575 Boulder St), people keep asking “Becky, what exactly is The Day of The Dead…and why are we celebrating something so GHASTLY??”

So here it is…and no, I didn’t write this. Found it online. And ok, it might seem a bit ghastly at first. But I promise you this –  the yummy appetizers and cocktails at LOLA will make you forget all about those crazy Aztec Spirits.

See you there!


“More than 500 years ago, when the Spanish Conquistadors landed in what is now Mexico, they encountered natives practicing a ritual that seemed to mock death. It was a ritual the indigenous people had been practicing at least 3,000 years. A ritual the Spaniards would try unsuccessfully to eradicate.

A ritual known today as Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead.

The ritual is celebrated in Mexico and certain parts of the United States, including the Valley. Celebrations are held each year in Mesa, Chandler, Guadalupe and at Arizona State University. Although the ritual has since been merged with Catholic theology, it still maintains the basic principles of the Aztec ritual, such as the use of skulls.

Today, people don wooden skull masks called calacas and dance in honor of their deceased relatives. The wooden skulls are also placed on altars that are dedicated to the dead. Sugar skulls, made with the names of the dead person on the forehead, are eaten by a relative or friend, according to Mary J. Adrade, who has written three books on the ritual.

The Aztecs and other Meso-American civilizations kept skulls as trophies and displayed them during the ritual. The skulls were used to symbolize death and rebirth. The skulls were used to honor the dead, whom the Aztecs and other Meso-American civilizations believed came back to visit during the monthlong ritual.

Unlike the Spaniards, who viewed death as the end of life, the natives viewed it as the continuation of life. Instead of fearing death, they embraced it. To them, life was a dream and only in death did they become truly awake.

“The pre-Hispanic people honored duality as being dynamic,” said Christina Gonzalez, senior lecturer on Hispanic issues at Arizona State University. “They didn’t separate death from pain, wealth from poverty like they did in Western cultures.” However, the Spaniards considered the ritual to be sacrilegious. They perceived the indigenous people to be barbaric and pagan.

In their attempts to convert them to Catholicism, the Spaniards tried to kill the ritual.

But like the old Aztec spirits, the ritual refused to die.

To make the ritual more Christian, the Spaniards moved it so it coincided with All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day (Nov. 1 and 2), which is when it is celebrated today. Previously it fell on the ninth month of the Aztec Solar Calendar, approximately the beginning of August, and was celebrated for the entire month. Festivities were presided over by the goddess Mictecacihuatl. The goddess, known as “Lady of the Dead,” was believed to have died at birth.

Today, Day of the Dead is celebrated in Mexico and in certain parts of the United States and Central America.

In rural Mexico, people visit the cemetery where their loved ones are buried. They decorate gravesites with marigold flowers and candles. They bring toys for dead children and bottles of tequila to adults. They sit on picnic blankets next to gravesites and eat the favorite food of their loved ones.

In Guadalupe, the ritual is celebrated much like it is in rural Mexico.

In Mesa, the ritual has evolved to include other cultures, said Zarco Guerrero, a Mesa artist.

In the United States and in Mexico’s larger cities, families build altars in their homes, dedicating them to the dead. They surround these altars with flowers, food and pictures of the deceased. They light candles and place them next to the altar”.

Lisa Goldhawk Benedetti Car Accident Update 10-28-2010

Thursday, October 28th, 2010


After many e-mails, trips to hospitals, etc, we have a status and update on Lisa Goldhawk Benedetti. She was in a very bad car accident last Thursday evening. Her jeep rolled 4 times, and even with a seatbelt she was ejected from the car. She was almost pulled from life support over the weekend pulled through.    She has suffered severe head injuries the teams at Community Hospital are currently working on. Their number one priority right now is to reduce the pressure in her brain.

She is currently in the ICU Neurological Trauma unit until further notice.  We have sent a cookie basket from FFF to her kids Sammy, Becky and Mack to offer strength and encouragement in this tough time.

Due to her situation she cannot take visitors but if you would like please send cards to the hospital in her care and then her kids and boy friend Steve can read to her when she’s more stable.

Boulder Community Hospital
ICU Neurological Trauma Unit
1100 Balsam
Boulder, CO 80304

We will send more updates as we get them.  Please keep Lisa and her family in your thoughts and prayers.  Please feel free to forward this to others who may know Lisa.


Some kind words from The Boedecker Foundation

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

(a nice post taken from The Boedecker Foundation BLOG)

As the fires raged through Boulder Colorado, and the officially titled “fourmile fire” left a hellish footprint across the foothills west of Boulder Colorado and across the lives of the 160+ families that lost everything, it became painfully obvious that, at times, we certainly are at the mercy of fate. What started with a volunteer firefighter burning brush in a fire pit at his mountain home northwest of Boulder, culminated in the largest fire in Colorado history. Over 170 structures were destroyed over a 4-day period, and the number of homes lost as of this writing has reached 169. Modest homes and mansions alike, the fourmile fire reduced each to nothing more than a gray scar at the end of a long driveway.  As the days unfold and the stories begin to circulate, it’s clear that a great many of the families that lost everything didn’t even have a chance to grab a toothbrush – let alone their family photo albums or a change of clothes. One of many organizations jumping at the chance to help was Boedecker Foundation grantee, The Fairview Friends Foundation.

Partnering with The Calgary Bible Church and Evolve Technologies, The FFF ultimately collected dozens of boxes and bags of clothing at multiple locations in Boulder and Denver, with little more than a word-of-mouth and Facebook campaign. The spirit of their tagline “we do good things” was never more evident than when this writer watched as Becky Hookanson – Founder and President – took the better part of the this past Monday to deliver all excess clothing to the ARC in central Denver. It seems that the clothing drives (there were multiple in the Boulder/Denver area) were so successful that there was a huge excess of usable goods.

Kudos to the TEAM at The Fairview Friends Foundation. It’s almost cliché to talk about people “coming together” in times of emergency and crisis. Truth be told, it’s probably folks like Becky, and the fine people over at The Fairview Friends Foundation, that you’ve been talking about all along.

But there’s no cliché here….they just “do good things”