October 31, 2009

Dia de los Muertos - a Celebration

Nov 1 & 2 are the days of Dia de los Muertos, a celebration of remembrance. The Day of the Dead. That time in Mexico and other locations where people gather and remember. Most often the gatherings are held in the cemeteries and go on for the days. How like the wonderful people of Mexico to show the rest of us a way to bring love and laughter to the topic of death.

Traveling to Mexico isn't necessary to get a taste of the holiday. The Tacoma Art Museum, again this year, has made it easy. The traditions of sand painting and Ofrendas (altars) have been set up for your viewing. These photos touch on what is there. Tomorrow, Sunday, there will be music and more. If you are in the area I'm told it is a wonderful gathering. We always seem to have other must dos when those guitars are strumming.

If you can't make it, I've tried to catch a bit of what resides on the two floors of the Museum in these shots. The Ofrendas are upstairs on the left in the photo looking down on the floor from above. The sand painting was great to see up close but hard to capture regardless of where I stood. Photos are not allowed of art work in the Museum. However you can shoot the architecture, sand painting and Ofrendas.

The altars often have dried flowers, Marigolds being the favorite, along with items that are reminiscent of the person, people, animals, etc being honored. We have seen some in New Mexico that simply radiate with color and flowers.

I hope you have a chance to take a moment on Dia de los Muertos to honor those now gone. And to enjoy some memories that bring a smile or laugh to your day. I'm guessing they would like that.


ProfGeo said...

Fascinating that the observance has made it all the way north to your time zone. :-) Do you think the museum event helps with understanding the customs, or does the physical distance make Day of the Dead seem cutesy or exotic? As far as I'm concerned, we can stop pretending any time now that cultures don't overlap and influence each other, but that's just me.

An artist colleague & friend has just been featured on KQED (San Francisco) with her university class on Day of the Dead. I learned a new thing this year re: the importance of the flowers. Geographically, she and her students are about a third of the way up toward you from Mexico so watch your back! Here's the KQED video segment from Oct. 30 on her class:

Day of the Dead KQED segment

I think you will appreciate the art & photo gallery on the campus site:

CSU Monterey Bay's Day of the Dead

Sea Mist and Sunsets said...

Hey ProGeo,
Actually in my Time Zone :) there is a large community of folks from Mexico and other Latin origins, along with a large Pacific Rim population. Our Russian/Ukranian community is on the rise currently.

I wholeheartedly agree about the over lapping influences when cultures come together. That richness of experience and blurring of distinctions (not elimination) are precious and vital to our progress from my perspective. Eons ago, when I first wandered out of California, I still remember how odd places less culturally diverse felt.

Regarding the Dia de los Muertos event at the museum, it is done in collaboration with Centro Latino. (www.clatino.org) They are a wonderful (long lived) resource for our latin community. If I am not mistaken Julio Quan, when Director of Centro Latino, was key to the events development locally. He is one of my heros. A tireless advocate for peace and human rights.

Should finally have a bit of time to check out the sites you posted today. Thanks much. Oh, it's 12:20 PM in my time zone.

Sea Mist and Sunsets said...

Thank you for posting the links, they are wonderful. I hope others reading this will take a bit of time to learn more about Dia de los Muertos by visiting them.

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