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) fact 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’ll be looking 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: There’s a Dia de los Muertos procession at the Railyard Friday, October 29th. The parade starts at Sambusco Center at 6:00pm. The route winds through the Railyard and ending up at El Museo Cultural.
Folk Art Museum: Sunday October 30, 2011. 1-4 p.m. Dia de Muertos/Day of the Dead
Sugar skull decorating and nicho (memory box) making for ages 3 to 103, music by Los Trinos, dance performance by Los Ninos de Santa Fe y Compania, seasonal refreshments. Write messages to loved ones who have passed on a leaf for the Tree of life. COSTUMES encouraged, but not required! More information.
Tucson: 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 5th and 6th, 2011.
Phoenix: Head to the Desert Botanical Garden. The Desert Botanical Garden will once again celebrate Dia de los Muertos with ongoing festivities, classes and exhibits. They will have a colorful procession.
Dia de los Muertos Decorations
If you need “muertos” decorations you can go to the mercado at the Phoenix Desert Botanical Museum this time of year or look at the Crafty Chica’s website.
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.
Dia de los Muertos Decoration Video
Mexican Sugar Skull Art Online