What is the Holiday- Dia De Los Muertos?

The El Dia de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead is a family holiday to honor loved ones. It is “a family-centered celebration rooted in the belief that, beginning on Oct. 31st and continuing through Nov. 2nd, the spirits of the dead visit the living. Families spend these days

Source

The El Dia de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead is a family holiday to honor loved ones.  It is “a family-centered celebration rooted in the belief that, beginning on Oct. 31st and continuing through Nov. 2nd, the spirits of the dead visit the living. Families spend these days in communion with departed friends and relatives sharing food and music.”  Oakland Museum of Art- Day of the Dead Exhibit.

Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico can be traced back to indigenous pagan cultures 2,500–3,000 years. Rituals celebrating the lives of ancestors passed, have long been observed by ancient civilizations of the region. The festival now known as the modern “Day of the Dead” originally fell in the ninth month of the Aztec calendar- about the beginning of August, and was celebrated for an entire month. The festivities were dedicated to the goddess known as the “Lady of the Dead”- Mictecacihuatl, now loosely corresponding to the modern Catrina.

Catrina Photo Booth
Catrina Photo Booth (Photo credit: gozamos)

The original timing of El dia de Los Muertos coincided with the migratory return of the monarch butterflies who were believed to play a key role in carrying the souls of the deceased to families and loved ones. The Catholic church moved the holiday from August, to Nov. 1 & 2nd, to coincide with All Souls Day.

Source: Frenzy Art- Frida

The holiday has spread throughout the world and is celebrated in some form in many countries: in Brazil, Dia de Finados is a public holiday that many Brazilians celebrate by visiting cemeteries and churches. In Spain, there are festivals and parades, and, at the end of the day, people gather at cemeteries and pray for their dead loved ones. (adapted from Wikipedia & other sources.)

Because souls are migrating on long journeys, food and drink are arranged on alters for those who have passed, to comfort and sustain them on their journeys ahead. Copal incense, marigolds, and favored breads, food, and drink are offered on alters during this time.

Here is a guide for what you can use to prepare for your alter.  Click to enlarge pic.

I’ll be posting more about the day, how it’s celebrated, and myths and rituals over the next 2 weeks.

Embellish Yourself! Calavera Style

My Love affair with October begins with the wonderful Day of the Dead practice of decorating oneself as Calavera.

This happy custom comes from traditional Dia de Los Muertos celebrations back in the day in Mexico, where people would paint their faces and dress as a skeleton (calavera), and pretend to be either themselves or someone else- in plays, parades, and publicly performed skits.  I love this tradition! To come back as your skeleton self to the world of the living, means a slightly altered perspective no doubt- and helps create the funniest parodies of life and all our petty concerns within it. Of course, politicians and famous folks were the favored personas to target and enact.   Wouldn’t it be awesome to have this low-brow entertainment again! Every year in your local town plazuela!! It seems like it would bring release, and instant perspective into an often silly too-serious world.  So I start with myself, sing into a skeleton, add marigolds, swallows, and a few tattoos…

And its just ONE-more thing to adore about PicMonkey.  I think they must have these features seasonally- So I’m going to doll up everyone I have pics of. (heeeheee- beware my friends…;)

You can make yourself scary too. Especially if the photo is out-of-focus, your eyes were closed and you need to open them up with bright, orange, cat eyes!

A few fun things I’ve slipped into the timeline of late, between working/ touring/ performing:  is getting my recording gear spinning again, redesigning my studio, and making a few new jewelry bits.  Yay!!!

First, I’m finally on Pinterest.  I got on to figure out how to bring together different ideas for the studio I want, and a new artistic vibe in my space.  Of course Dia de los Muertos and mermaids will always reign supreme, but I’ve decided to let my scientific roots show a bit too within my artistic world.  In my previous incarnation, I studied marine biology, researched and raised fish, and moon lighted as an environmental scientist- all while playing drums in punk and power pop bands on weekends.

Only when music started to ‘eat my lunch’, did I decide to choose my Master.  Occasionally, science would appear: a band call ‘The Succulents’; sea sirens, lyrics of deep-sea lovers, secret powers of cyanobacteria…

Now, coincident with Fall, I’m craving bathymetry, scientific illustration, & glasswork in my soon-to-be new Apothecary Studio!