I don't remember celebrating day of the dead too much as a child. I can recall one year that we were living in Mexico we decided to make an altar for my deceased grandmother which turned out rather nicely in the end. I reminisce about flower petals and rice forming crosses on the floor, the smell of incense burning, the vibrant colors of tissue paper giving off good vibes and paying reverence to the dead. I can recall the second of November as a memorable date because in Mexican culture they tend to mystify death and all its causes and as a child I couldn't help but feel morbid just thinking of it. Also my experience living in Mexico was that this brief holiday isn't celebrated with such enthusiasm as Christmas -I say christmas because its a religious holiday and I feel like perhaps we have more holidays to celebrate in United States because of our consumer tendencies.
Dia de los muertos was last wednesday and whilst nothing really stirred up in Ontario -or anywhere else for that matter- yesterday (Nov 5) I went to a little street fair in honor of the mexican in Santa Ana, Orange County. The whole thing took place in a little strip of downtown Santa Ana known as the artists village.
The whole event is set up by the community and people volunteer to make altars for their loved ones or a cause of death (i.e. the female homicides of juarez I saw a lot of those hmmm...). Its a Californian rendition of the Mexican tradition and whilst I could sit here and make parallels between the two I would rather show you pictures.
|A homosexual tribute?|
There was all the traditional stuff and then the rest seemed a bit like an arts and crafts fair where everything was handmade and sold at ridiculous prices. I did ,however, find this one old man from Guanajuato that sold/made hand painted toys for really cheap.
|all this stuff seems very contemporary and caters to rockabilly/punk crowd|
|Pan de Muerto|
Ok so its very "California" in a sense because Mexican culture in La is some kind of new mutation that has been developing since the 70s but there was quite a bit of traditional stuff as you can see. I also experienced a little puppet show where the marionettes where brought from Cuernavaca, and the show was done in spanish which is proof that people travel to come to this event. Its always nice to see a community in unison creating something of cultural value that will hopefully continue throughout the years.