It’s that time again… Dia de los Muertos. It is a time when face painters keep busy creating skeleton faces and we celebrate the colorful, sometimes irreverent, Day of the Dead.
What is Day of the Dead or Dia de los Muertos? At the time of the Spanish conquest, the Catholic feast of All Saints Day (November 1st) was combined with the traditions and festivities that were long-time customs of the indigenous people. While traditions may have changed in different geographical locations, the religious (Catholic) tradition is that November 1st is All Saints Day and November 2nd is All Souls Day.
Our current Dia de los Muertos has evolved from these traditions. You may see people decorating an altar in their home with sugar skulls, flowers, candles and photos of those who have passed. I always look for celebrants in the local Catholic cemetery where it is traditional to clean and decorate the graves of family members.
A wonderful place to be during Dia de los Muertos is in Oaxaca, Mexico where the festivities take on a colorful carnival atmosphere. If you can’t be in Mexico during the colorful and reverent display of love for the departed, you can enjoy these festivities in the American Southwest.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Celebrate at the International Folk Art Museum on Sunday, October 28, 2012 from 1 – 4 p.m. They are promoting their Day of the Dead/Día de Muertos event as for ages 3 to 103! Decorate sugar skulls, make muertos nichos (memory boxes), sample Pan de Muerto, (Sweet bread), enjoy live music by Las Flores Del Valle, a dance performance by Los Ninos de Santa Fe y Compania; and a the film Todos Santos: La Fiesta de las Almas in Candelaria Bolivia by the Metamorfosis Documentation Project . Costumes are encouraged, but not required!
Tucson, Arizona: The weird and wonderful All Souls Procession is not to be missed. The University area and downtown area will be alive with the departed, ghosts and skeletons in a procession where visitors can join in. The All Souls Procession weekend is November 2nd – 4th, 2012.
Phoenix, Arizona: Head to the Desert Botanical Garden. The Desert Botanical Garden will once again celebrate Dia de los Muertos Ofrenda.
At The Museum of Northern Arizona enjoy the Celebraciones de la Gente from October 27 – 28, 2012.The festival’s insightful programming, music, and dances celebrate Mexican, Mexican American, and Hispanic cultures. Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead embraces a heartfelt way to express feelings for those who have gone before us and embraces the custom of converting grief into music, dance, and fellowship. Festival Schedule
More on Dia de Los Muertos
If you need “muertos” decorations you can go to the Crafty Chica’s website.
Here’s How to Make Your Own Day of the Dead Altar
I like what Dia de los Muertos is becoming in the United States. It is a time to celebrate the lives of those who have left us in a colorful, festive, yet reverent way. If Dia de los Muertos replaces Halloween, I, for one, will be in favor of the change.
Photos Copyright: Elizabeth Rose Photography