Friday, November 1, 2013

"Day of the Dead is becoming the cool holiday"

Nicholas Gossett had his face painted on Oct. 27. Sandy Huffaker for The Wall Street Journal
Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is fast becoming a popular holiday celebration in the US, traditionally celebrated by Hispanics of Mexican heritage, although its important to note people celebrate a variation of Dia de los Muertos (All Saints Day) around the world — from Brazil, across Europe and into Asia.

The Wall Street Journal has an article this morning titled "No Bones About It: Day of the Dead Is Finding New Life".  As a tradition with a precolumbian heritage that has been celebrated for hundreds of years in Mexico and beyond, the holiday was not in need of a second wind. However, as American culture increasing blends with US Hispanic culture the holiday is growing by leaps and bounds and coverage by the WSJ is an example of that. 

In Mexico the modern day version of the celebration began with the Aztecs. The Day of the Dead fell on the 9th month of the Aztec calendar and was celebrated for an entire month. 

In most regions of Mexico November 1 is to honor children and infants, whereas deceased adults are honored on November 2. This is indicated by generally referring to November 1 mainly as Día de los Inocentes ("Day of the Innocents") but also as Día de los Angelitos ("Day of the Little Angels") and November 2 as Día de los Muertos or Día de los Difuntos ("Day of the Dead") (Source:Wikipedia)

A few highlights from WSJ:

• The renowned Hollywood Forever Cemetery hosts one of the largest Dia de los Muertos events  in the country (35,000 est. attendance). "Day of the Dead is becoming the cool holiday," says Celine Mares, co-founder of a popular annual event in a Hollywood cemetery. "Halloween is passé."
• Companies are also jumping in. Nestlé, a sponsor of the cemetery event (Hollywood Forever Cemetery) , says it will attempt to "establish the Guinness World Record for the largest Day of the Dead altar in the U.S." Its entry will portray stylish female skeleton figures known as Catrinas enjoying cups of its Mexican-style hot chocolate and its instant coffee.
• In Texas, Houston's science museum offers a workshop for teachers interested in taking the holiday into their classrooms. "It's probably our most popular workshop," said education director Nicole Temple. Lesson One, she says: "It's not Mexican Halloween."

Link to the WSJ article here.

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