Dia de los Muertos: Celebrations, Remembrances, Culture
Dia de los Muertos happens to fall on my mother’s birthday (or vice versa). She passed away in 2011 but November 2d forevermore for me will be a day of the year when I pause to reflect, and this year — with the chaos in New York (my hometown) after Hurricane Sandy, I am pausing and reflecting more deeply on how it is that cultural celebrations can frame issues that tend to be regularly or purposefully obscured in politics.
In San Antonio, Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center is having a November 2d celebration from 6-9 p.m. that begins with a gathering at the Peace and Remembrance Mural at 402 Trinity Street for calavera face painting. At 6:30 p.m., “family and friends of victims of domestic violence are invited to speak about their loved ones and add the names of the deceased to the mural.” At 6:45 p.m., The San Anto Barrio Procession will begin and travel through the barrio with mobile altars and handmade luminarias—ending at the Guadalupe Gallery, 723 S. Brazos. Visit this link for more information.
In Oaxaca, Mexico, the celebrations have begun at this writing. Blogger Norma Hawthorne (a link to her excellent blog, Oaxaca Cultural Navigator, here) is a terrific source for what’s happening and where and by whom. If you are in Oaxaca, the Xoxocatlan cemetery (featured image) becomes a frenzy of crowds, candles, flowers, families picnicking, strolling musicians and local costumed revelers, Hawthorne writes. (Of my New York pals stranded elsewhere, the one who lives on Avenue C but is in Oaxaca seems to be in a good location right now.)
If you are in Santa Fe and want some local flavor and missed Sunday’s events at the International Folk Art Market, the confectioner shop that is Todos Santos (125 E. Palace Avenue, in Sena Plaza) has sugar skulls in abundance. And this time of year also makes me mindful of many artists whose work I used to follow more regularly: among them, Kathy Vargas, Maria Baca, santero Jose Benjamin Lopez, all of whose work I’d like to see gathered in front of me (imagination: take over), right about now, in time for the holiday that honors our lost with home altars thronged by garlands of marigolds. (Or a sugar skull by artist Rick Phelps?)