Dia de los Muertos, is the spanish translation for the name, “The Day of the Dead.” It is the day of the celebration of the life we have, and the past lives of others. It is celebrated from November 1st to the 2nd in Mexico, and particularly, the Central and South regions. It is the day that is made to be set aside to remember and honor the loved ones we had that passed away. It is a celebration of life on just how we should not take everything for granted and not to fear death.
Día de los Muertos originated from Pre-Columbian cultures and beliefs. Before the Spanish arrived in what is today, Mexico, the Aztecs gave their offerings to their deceased ancestors as part of their religious rituals. After the Spanish came, the celebration was modified to incorporate Catholic beliefs and practices, creating this deeply religious, syncretic tradition. Those who do celebrate and incorporate this tradition, pray and help support their spiritual journey through the afterlife. Of course, it is up to the families of the deceased or friends to visit the gravesites to visit the grave of the passed loved one and decorate it with ceramic skulls, their favorite foods, beverages or alcoholic drinks to welcome them, and help them from a long journey from the afterlife.
If the families of the deceased cannot go to the grave sites, they usually will set up an altar with the loved one’s picture and of course the things they loved, wore, or food and beverages for them.
On November 2, 2017, Sofia Quintero Arts and Cultural Center held their huge annual fund-raiser. It is an exhibition that they are proud to hold every year to show artwork and celebrate Mexico’s national holiday, Dia de los Muertos. They held a whole night planned out at the center with music, entertainment, an educational and historic presentation of the origins of Mexico and Dia de los Muertos, food, drinks.
Also offered across the street at the Jose Martinez Gallery is a display of ten altars that families and friends arranged in honor of their loved ones, and in memory of two hispanic artists, Frida Kahlo and Jose Posada. One of the ten altars payed tribute to one of their own, David Cuatlacautl, the center’s past art coordinator who was killed in a car crash this past August. Each altar had its own creativity or traditional altar of its own representing each deceased family member or friend.
At the end of the of the exhibition, they arranged a performance at the Jose Martinez Gallery by the folklorico dance group, “Imagenes Mexicanas Ballet Folklorico,” that is affiliated with the SQACC, and is their home too. The dances that were presented and serenaded were from two different states, with a few solos. Each state had its own style, meticulous dance steps, and representation.