Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Dia de los Muertos

Photo source

Today is el dia de los muertos. Dia de los Muertos translates literally to "Day of the Dead". Here in the US, it is a misperception that the Day of the Dead has to do with zombies, or that it is supposed to be spooky or scary. El dia de los muertos is a festive traditional Mexican holiday in which families remember loved ones who have died before them. Rather than being a somber occasion, it is a celebration of life.

As with many cultural holidays, el dia de los muertos winds up being a feast. Families often prepare the favorite meals of the deceased. There are certain foods associated with the holiday, such as pan de muerto (a sweet bread), and calaveras de azucar (sugar skulls). Some sugar skulls are beautifully decorated with intricate color and detail. These candies-turned-artwork have inspired "sugar skull" artwork in other forms as well (paintings, tattoos, mosaics).
Sugar skulls. Image source.
Sugar skull artwork. Image source

In Mexico, families prepare meals, pack picnic lunches, and go to the park or cemetery to visit the graves of their loved ones. It is a festive occasion, a national holiday, in fact, when the whole community celebrates and remembers the lives of those who have passed on before them. Many times they will display a photo of the deceased, light candles, and bring flowers. You can read more about the holiday here.

Personally, I think it's a really neat tradition. I would love to one day be in Mexico for dia de los muertos.

Anyway, I thought I'd give a little background on the holiday, and then show you my way cool dia de los muertos STUFF from San Diego. There is a lot of Mexican influence in San Diego, and it was fun to see some of the dia de los muertos art in the local shops and museums. I have always liked the artwork.

We came across one dia de los muertos display in the Old Town section of San Diego. You might be able to see in this photo that there are framed photographs of the deceased displayed at the bottom. Each photograph included some information about that person and his/her role in the community. I thought that was nice.
Next- check out my very cool apron (I love, love, love it). We found this at a booth at the Ocean Beach Farmer's Market.
Here is the lovely lady who made this apron. She designed the pattern and hand made the apron. It is a nice apron- fully lined, with two pockets, and machine washable (hang dry). The artists name is Sunny, and she has an eBay store here.
Then, to my surprise, when I arrived home, I received a souvenir package with a tile that I had looked at in one of the shop windows.

I hung it above my stove:

I love it. Thanks, Ed!

p.s. Next year, I want to try to make sugar skulls, or (gluten free) pan de muerto : ) We'll see!

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