Friday, November 1, 2013

Dia de los Muertos

I started seeing posts here and there about Dia de los Muertos {Day of the Dead} through blogland and it got me thinking. It takes place November 1 & 2 each year and is a celebration to honor the dead loves ones who have passed on.

Long before Andrew died, I was familiar with this holiday. I was introduced to it back in high school during the fall when Halloween rolled around, but in reality, it has nothing to do with the "holiday" of Halloween that we celebrate which decorates with dark colors, skeletons, and gore. The Spanish holiday is a celebration of people. Not scary people, but people who are loved and remembered.

In college, I shot a news story down near Union Station in Los Angeles at Olvera Street. This street is an outdoor Mexican marketplace with vendors covering narrow brick paths. They also have some interior rooms converted to museums about the Spanish culture and their rich history in Los Angeles. During October and November, they house a big exhibit on Dia de los Muertos. I remember interviewing people and cutting a story all about recognizing and celebrating the lives of very important people that I did not know. Who knew I'd be 28 years old and experience the heartbreak of losing my very own special loved one.

It's a colorful holiday-- one that is decorated well with vibrantly painted skulls, beautiful Papel picado, and hoards of food. It's a birthday party for the dead.

Having a loved one I miss terribly out there, it was only fitting to recognize him today in my own little ceremony of Dia de los Muertos by creating a craft with Benjamin and celebrating with a bit of a Mexican feast in honor of his brother who should be turning 3 years old next month.
Benjamin's contribution was the top blue. I helped adjust the scissors and there were two cuts. Then he was over it.
We'll probably have tostadas tonight to celebrate our boy and maybe get wild and crazy with some virgin margaritas. Thinking of many, many loved ones today and tomorrow and celebrating.


Caroline said... [Reply to comment]

What a fun little project. Dia de los Muertos was always big for us too - growing up in AZ with a large Hispanic population. Also, my mom is a Spanish teacher so she totally gets in to it.

Jenny said... [Reply to comment]

This is a wonderful post! We took a trip this a.m. to buy chrysanthemums and talked about All Saints Day. In France, fall mums are placed on the graves of loved ones for Nov 1. We also talked about family that has made to heaven ahead of us, looked at pictures to remember good memories of them, and read a little about what Jesus said heaven will be like. Halloween just seems to *sad* without the flip side of Dia de los Muertos or All Saints Day. Loved this post!

Molly said... [Reply to comment]

This is sweet. One of my many issues with Halloween is the death thing. I try not to voice it too much bc people who don't get it (non blms in other words) think it's dramatic that it bothers me. But seeing a skeleton in a coffin in someone's front yard is offensive to me since a very precious child of mine is in that same state, except it's no joke. So screw Halloween. I like this Mexican business much better.

Solange, Nik, Caitlin and Oliver said... [Reply to comment]

That's a great project idea and very sweet!

Brooke said... [Reply to comment]

Like Molly, I found myself really touchy about Halloween decorations. Even David commented on how many people in our neighborhood "decorated" by turning their lawns into cemeteries. I do the pumpkins, cats, and witches, but I'm not much for ghosts now and I'm totally uninterested in skeletons or graves.

I love attending church for All Saints Day (the Methodist/Episcopalian version of Day of the Dead). I'm not sure we'll get to go this weekend, but going last year was a good experience for me. I love your idea of a celebration. And also any excuse to eat Mexican food.

Laura McCannell said... [Reply to comment]

We don't have any mexicans. I feel ripped off.

I don't mind the "gravestone"s, I mind the zombie babies and whatnot I see plastered everywhere. It's too much.

I do think I should clarify- the "gravestones" around my neighbourhood are, "seymore butts" (yes, seriously), rather than a legit name.


Melissa said... [Reply to comment]

I love this celebration. I love that it is colourful and celebratory yet respectful. I cannot stand the morbidity of Halloween either. I think that a day to celebrate those that have passed and the authenticity of their life is much more fitting.

Beautiful decorations!

Mama Bear said... [Reply to comment]

Our ten year old niece is in Spanish immersion school and wrote an essay about Bear for a Dia due los Muertes school project. It was amazing and talked about how he'd probably look like Bode and how she loves him even though she never got to meet him. So awesome and heartbreaking.

I love that you are celebrating our babies today! xoxo

Darcey said... [Reply to comment]

Very nice...any time you can celebrate with Mexican food and incorporate your babies is a good one in my book.

Natasha said... [Reply to comment]

I didn't know much about this holiday but it seems like a wonderful way to celebrate the lives of your loved ones. So colorful and not weird like some halloween activities. And it falls on Aiden's birthday every year- wow.

We'll definitely have to do something for this next year. Thanks for sharing <3