Monday, November 5, 2007

Día de los Muertos (Nov. 1st and 2nd)

Chávez elementary had a beautiful celebration for Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) on Friday Nov. 2. It was the first celebration of this day that I have ever seen and I was inspired to witness such a welcoming tradition of honoring the dead. It’s different from anything I’ve seen in my culture. I’ll try to explain the basic idea, but anyone who wants to add/correct me please feel free to post. This is the day for our loved ones to come back and be with us for one more day, and to enjoy whatever it was that they loved in life. People put special gifts of food, flowers, incense, etc. on altars for family members who have passed. People decorate skulls and eat pan de muerto (bread of the dead) and in general celebrate. Even though the undertone is serious and emotional with a high level of respect, comedy is also used. Death is seen as a continuation into a different stage of life – and this stems from indigenous traditions as well. The women I work with did a play for the whole school and it was very funny/lighthearted, but did a great job at communicating the meaning of Día de los Muertos.

Ballet Folklórico dance group performing after school. They do traditional Mexican dances, and that night featured dances from Michoacán, Mexico.

Video clip of Ballet Folklórico:

The old-man dance!

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