Mexicans really know how to have a good time when it comes to death. Their Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, celebrated on Nov. 1 and 2, is a time to party and honor ancestors. They entice their deceased loved ones with sumptuous foods and special activities to come out and play onto streets that come alive with calacas (skeletons) and calaveras (skulls). Altars are created in people's homes with offerings and candle light, toys and sweets for the angelitos (deceased children), cigarettes and shots of Mezcal for the deceased adult, flowers for everyone. Festivities end with a visit to the cemetery where they tend to the tombstones, play music, sing and reminisce. This is an annual tradition that comes from indigenous roots where death is understood to be part of life and where the dead live among the living. God is out of the picture: It is a joyous communion between the living and the dead. Our North American culture has its roots in the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) and the stories from the Bible. One of the very first stories in Genesis 3, the creation myth, is about Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden. This story is extremely powerful and sets the stage for generations. It explains our understanding of and relationship to death and the paradigm our culture embraces, which is one of death-phobia. God, the all-powerful and omniscient, first creates Adam and then from his rib, Eve. The garden of Eden is paradise because, among other features, there is no death, there is only immortality. God instructs Adam not to eat the fruit of a particular tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Eve, however, allows a serpent that appears in the garden to talk her into eating the fruit of this forbidden tree. Eve then convinces Adam to do the same. With their ill-gotten gain of knowledge came shame of their nakedness and the awareness of evil. This human impudence incenses God who retaliates, for He is a punitive God, by kicking Adam and Eve out of Eden. Among the admonishments pelted out by God is the ultimate punishment: mortality and death. To make matters worse, God then extracts human beings from the natural world and makes us separate. This is a key difference of how the indigenous people live, for they live as part of nature. They take their cues from nature and one of those cues is when it is time to die. Our culture, in contrast, our lineage from the creation story, is to exist by postponing and overcoming death. Our worldview is that death is a punishment from God. What a story! No wonder we are a death-phobic culture. This Abrahamic creation story with its punitive God and its sinful human beings has perpetuated our denial of who we truly are: mortal beings who age and die. We do not trust this natural process, which is our essential make-up. We fear death and we fear God. What if this weren't so? What if we embraced our morality as a gift, not a punishment? Maybe we could start by learning from indigenous people. Perhaps, while our kids were trick-or- treating on Halloween, pretending that things are scary and eating lots of candy, we adults could create our own ritual; for example, imagining ourselves as dead. What would the world be like without us? Would our loved ones remember us and pay us homage? Will we, in spirit form, be invited to dance around our gravestone with the generations we bore? Will a plate be set at the table at a feast in our honor? How will our lives have mattered?