Once again El Centro Cultural de Mexico and Calacas presented the best Dia de los Muertos event in all of Orange County; the 6th Annual Noche de Altares in Santa Ana! In addition to all the great altars made in memory of those on the other side, the free community event included local vendors, organizations, food and entertainment. For those of you who don’t know about the tradition of Dia de los Muertos, it traces centuries back to the indigenous population of Mexico who held a very different concept of death; that it is a necessary step in life and should be celebrated. In spite of the influence of Catholicism that came with Spanish colonialism, this ritual of the indigenous has prevailed throughout the centuries in syncretic forms that are still firmly rooted in its origins.
The tradition continued last night in Santa Ana where there were many altars that either were constructed as pillars of memory for the departed, or as more socially conscious themed ones that brought attention to death as injustice – as is the case in the above altar which reminds us of the true cost of the war in Iraq for the people of that country as well as the soldiers of this nation. Indeed, in a death-denying culture such as the one that prevails in the United States, remembering the dead can be and is a subversive act. With that being said, I must end by once more giving props where props are due: to the 2008 planning committee: Gabriel, Jackie and Rudy Cordova, Yenni Diaz, Ruby Osoria, Betsy Padilla, Albany Silva, and Benjamin Vasquez. Great job as always!
And just in case you weren’t able to make it out this year – what’s wrong with you! Fret not, I’ve provided some pictures of the happenings – with a special thanks to Maricela whose digital camera saved the day for donpalabraz.com!
Another example of a socially conscious altar for heroes fallen in the struggle
Where you would have found me had you been walking around yesterday afternoon!
My friend Alison’s altar
I really liked the artwork and creativity displayed in this altar
Until we meet again next year! Viva los Muertos!