Festivals, fiestas y celebraciones with a distinctly Latina/o feel are becoming more and more obvious in the United States as a large part of the population celebrate their heritage. One such fiesta has been happening this weekend – Día de los Muertos.
Taking place over the weekend of 1st/2nd November, the Day of the Dead is a joyous festival when families remember their loved ones who have passed away. Familias will gather to build private altars called ofrendas, honouring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favourite foods and beverages of the departed, and visiting graves with these as gifts.
All across the United States there have been various Día de los Muertos ofrendas y fiestas happening (much to the annoyance of these UK-based aficionadas who couldn’t take part!!).
– míra esta en LA : a great art exhibition Recordando a Nuestros idolos”, idols/icons from the past remembered via art.
– esta en DC (which Eilidh is so gutted not to get to see!!): an ofrenda por Sandra Cisneros
– and the Rito y Recuerdo exhibition in Chicago’s National Museum of Mexican Art (one of the best museums in the city!)
There’s also the fantastico film The Book of Life that is a feature-length celebration of all things Mexican (as it is, as declared at the beggining of the movie, the centre of the universe). The Book of Life encourages us to celebrate the past while looking forward to the future. We went to see it this week and really really enjoyed it! Definitely worth a cinema visit if it’s showing near you.
If all this has you wanting to find out more then keep an eye out for Muertoons by Eric Gonzalez who, along with his co-author, Erich Haeger, have just announced their upcoming animation series (Muertoons), produced by Latino actor Wilmer Valderrama. This follows the success of what started with their first project, Rosita y Conchita, a beautifully illustrated bilingual book with a somewhat unlikely subject matter – a young girl, Conchita, is preparing her ofrenda on the Day of the Dead in the memory of her departed twin, Rosita.
SALSA did do our own little version of Day of the Dead here in Norwich – attending a Haunted Mansion Ball. Eilidh tried her best at a Día de los Muertos look!