Happy Day of the Dead, Dia de los Muertos!
I’ve long admired how Mexicans and Chicanos make the afterlife look amazing; creative, fun, and profound — all at the same time! A dear friend recently visited Peru and returned with this “Calavera Catrina/Lady of the Dead” for me.
My gaze riveted to Catrina’s fun feet, I asked, “What? This is from Peru?!” My friend’s answer took a while to sink in. Dia de los Muertos, it turns out, is celebrated all over the world. Not just in Mexico and Los Angeles!
Here’s a quick definition about how it’s celebrated in Mexico, lifted from a longer Wikipedia explanation.
On October 31, All Hallows Eve, the children make a children’s altar to invite the angelitos (spirits of dead children) to come back for a visit. November 1 is All Saints Day, and the adult spirits will come to visit. November 2 is All Souls Day, when families go to the cemetery to decorate the graves and tombs of their relatives. The three-day fiesta is filled with marigolds, the flowers of the dead; muertos (the bread of the dead); sugar skulls; cardboard skeletons; tissue paper decorations; fruit and nuts; incense, and other traditional foods and decorations.
— Frances Ann Day, Latina and Latino Voices in Literature
Here’s how its celebrated around Los Angeles’ oldest neighborhood, Olvera Street…