Wednesday, November 7, 2007

happy belated day of the dead

Time is travelling much too fast now that I’m in AP (after pneumonia). I realize that this post is a few days late. El Día de los Muertos (or Day of the Dead) is November 2nd and it’s a Mexican tradition. Last weekend, when Jesse and I visited the OC, I got to show him what it’s all about.

For the uninitiated, the Day of the Dead is actually a celebration of life. Traditionally, the friends/relatives of the deceased person create an ‘altar’ as a tribute to the life of the deceased. It has the usual fare, like pictures and artwork and such. But (because it is a Mexican holiday), there’s also food. You cook then eat the deceased person’s favorite foods. And there’s even special Day of the Dead foods like, Pan de Muerto (bread of the dead) and sugary Calaveras (candy skulls). And no Mexican feast would be complete without music. Essentially, it’s a big party and the deceased person is the guest of honor. And since it’s a big party, no crying is allowed.

I still don’t get it. I mean, I understand the holiday. But I have a hard time getting all happy about someone who passed away, especially if that person is close to me (and long time readers of this blog know that this is a reference to my dad). So, no, I did not go to my dad’s grave site to celebrate the Day of the Dead. I took Jesse to Olvera Street instead.

For those of you who have never been to L.A., Olvera Street is essentially L.A.’s Old Town. It is basically where L.A. started, right across from the first Catholic Church in Los Angeles, the Church of Our Queen of the Angels (angels = angeles).

Luckily for us, Olvera Street was hosting a big Day of the Dead celebration. I took pictures of a few altars that were set up in memoriam.

Here is an altar for the ladies of Juarez. Over 300 women have been murdered in the border town of Juarez and the inept/corrupt police force there has been unable to capture the killer(s).
a tribute to the ladies of juarez

Not sure why, but everyone’s favorite Mexican hero, Emiliano Zapata, had an altar too.
an altar for zapata

There was an altar for our fallen heroes from SoCal.
an altar for our fallen heroes

This particular altar caught my eye because of the box of cereal in the corner.
another altar
I love me some cereal too, so I kinda connected with the deceased.

Here’s a close up of the detail.
skulls abound
Some of these altars are truly works of art.

Here’s Olvera Street (it’s only about 2 blocks long).
olvera begins

Here’s Jesse in front of one of the original buildings that line the street.
jesse on olvera

I’m digging this flag mural.
a mexico flag mural

With the Mexican candy that was consumed and the shopping that was done, I have to admit that this day of the dead was anything but sad.

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