Last Update: Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Dia de los Muertos PDF Print E-mail
Written by Alejandro Chavez and Diana Martinez | Editor   
Thursday, 31 October 2013 05:31

Day of the Dead In The San Fernando Valley And Los Angeles Upholds Traditions At Some Locations And Has Become A Commercial Holiday At Others

On Nov. 1 and Nov. 2, Dia de los Muertos, or translated into English, Day of the Dead, honors those who have passed away.

Dia de los Muertos was transformed into a Mexican Catholic holiday to coincide with All Saints and All Souls day, but its roots run deep in Mexico's Mesoamerican indigenous traditions that are more than 3,500 years old in it's purest practice families. In rural Mexico, families gather together to visit and clean the gravesites of their loved ones, placing their photos, favorite foods including pan de muerto (egg bread shaped into bones) and sugar skulls and drink, items the deceased enjoyed and items that represented their life. Bright cempasúchil – orange marigold flowers – lead a pathway to the grave.

Honoring A Tradition

Traditional copal incense is burned; a blessing of the gravesite is given, sometimes from a Catholic priest and sometimes from an indigenous holy man. It's believed that the deceased will find their way back to the physical world and enjoy the items brought to them. The mood is both reverent and festive. Music is sometimes played and families picnic, talk, laugh and tell stories about the memories of their loved ones.

It's a time of reverence but there is also much about Dia de los Muertos that is a celebration. It's not a morose or sad time, but a time to gather with family and sit and talk about your loved one. It's a time to laugh, talk about good memories and fun time and even poke fun at death. People dress in calavera (skeleton) costumes and paint their faces to look like skulls. Kids run around and play and sometimes musicians and folklorico dancers also dressed for the occasion's performance.

The holiday embraces the indigenous belief that death is simply another dimension of life and there is a strong belief in the afterlife. The holiday is a merge of both Catholic and indigenous traditions. During the Spanish conquest of Mexico, Catholic priests who viewed the rituals as sacrilegious and the indigenous people as barbaric, which they were not, and pagan, which they certainly were, tried to kill the rituals but their efforts failed. So as part of their campaign to convert the Indians to Catholicism, the Spaniards moved the indigenous holidays from the summer months to honor the dead to coincide with All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day (Nov. 1 and 2), as it is celebrated today. Nov. 1 honors children who have passed away and Nov. 2 honors the adults.

In the United States, Dia de los Muertos traditions take place in people's homes and at public festivals where sometimes simple and sometimes elaborate altars are constructed to honor the deceased.

In Los Angeles, many Dia de los Muertos events are held each year and include art exhibits and entertainment. In the San Fernando Valley, Tia Chucha' s Cultural Center is holding a community event Nov. 1 and 2 with the San Fernando Valley Historical Society and the Mission College Drama Club that benefits the center and helps to raise money for stolen headstones at Pioneer Cemetery. In Northridge, Chicano Studies students at CSUN, noting the Aztec traditions have named their event, Miccailhuitontli Dia de Ofrenda festival.

Commercializing Dia de los Muertos

Cinco de Mayo was a holiday brought to universities by Chicano activists as a teaching opportunity and has now become a very commercial holiday incorrectly promoted as a drinking holiday.

Somewhat similarly, Dia de los Muertos community events in the United States were first organized by Chicano artists as an expression of Mexican art and traditions. Now items for Dia de los Muertos can be purchased at major stores and the largest Dia de los Muertos event in L.A is held at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery and is an event with a large show of entertainment and sponsors. While at this event, you may find some personal altars; you may also find a large altar to Marilyn Monroe and other celebrities buried there. It is more of an entertainment event rather than an intimate traditional celebration and is viewed as an "anything goes" commercialization of the indigenous tradition.

So much so, that the Nestles Corporation, a main sponsor for the event, is promoting their plans to build the largest altar to get into the Guiness Book of World Records. They are calling their plans to enterprise the event as an opportunity to "celebrate culture your way." The altar, according to their press release information, will display skeletons created by artists drinking Nestles chocolate.

Dia de los Muertos at Hollywood Forever has been jokingly referred to as "Melrose playing Day of the Dead," with long lines of people, some dressed in Halloween costumes, waiting to gain entry has to the cemetery and every kind of booth imaginable selling wares. While Hollywood Forever has provided paid opportunities for some visual artists and performers, it is not viewed as a traditional expression of the holiday.

Dia de los Muertos is often incorrectly compared to Halloween. Many Americans see the prototypical dancing skeletons (calaveras) and celebration of death as macabre or related to Halloween but it's not.

Halloween costumes were originally meant to scare away evil spirits. El Dia de Los Muertos is not scary, it honors loved ones but also pokes fun at death. It reflects the Mexican belief to embrace death, not be afraid of it, and to see death as the continuation of life. To understand that mourning and grief can also be expressed through laughter and the telling of happy memories. Death is not to be feared. It's viewed as a natural cycle of life that continues in the spirit world. It's for celebration and to re-live the good times of those who have passed and acknowledge that they are still part of our lives.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Write a letter to the editor. Send your thoughts to the San Fernando Valley Sun: 601 S. Brand Blvd. #202, San Fernando, CA 91340; email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Share
 






Team members care for thousands of the region's sickest children with heart conditions, including fetuses, newborns, infants, children, adolescents, and adult, long-term patients with pediatric cardiovascular conditions. At Children's families experience coordinated, next-generation care, delivered by a compassionate, multidisciplinary team of leaders in the pediatric cardiology field. One of the largest pediatric cardiovascular programs in the region. Studies have shown that high volumes are associated with high quality and better outcomes, because experience is a major factor in quality of care. Wort was traditionally prescribed in parts of Europe for depression (in addition to use as a general-purpose tea), and Chinese medicine developed elaborate lists of herbs and preparations. With the scientific revolution in Europe and the United States, the use of traditional herbal remedies fell out of favor with the mainstream medical establishment, although a few people continued to use and maintain knowledge of traditional European herblore. In the early 20th century, scientists began reassessing this rejection of traditional herbs in medicine. Vorzüge eines intakten und lebendigen Gemeinschaftslebens bewahren. Dafür sorgen nicht zuletzt gut 120 lokale Vereine. Als wichtiger Faktor im Kulturleben haben sich die zahlreichen Museen und einige Kunstgalerien erwiesen. Descriptive and quantitative transcriptome analyses are important for interpreting the functional elements of the genome and revealing the molecular constituents of cells and tissues. It is known that sperm function can be affected by ASG proteins, including the processes of capacitation and the acrosome reaction, as well as canadian pharmacy accutane sperm motility, DNA integrity and interaction with the oocyte. BSPs (bovine seminal plasma protein, unigene 64,588 and unigene 69,768), fertilin (unigene 17,270 and unigene 27,136), ACE (Angiotensin converting enzyme, unigene 7,164 and unigene 21,069), GPX5 (glutathione peroxidase, epididymal secretory glutathione peroxidase, unigene15860), Spermadhesin-1 (Acidic seminal fluid protein, aSFP). The reproduction-related transcripts identified in the ASG and testis transcritptomes in E. This interaction of PDC-109 with the sperm cell membrane results in an efflux of cholesterol and choline phospholipids, that appears to be important for capacitation. The main changes in spermatozoa that occur during epididymal maturation are the ability to move, recognize and bind to the ZP, and to fuse with the plasma membrane of the oocyte.. Oct 2004, Adelaide, Australia. Ziaian T, Augostinos, M. Relationship Between Acculturation and Mental Well-being Among Young Persian Women Living in Australia. Paper presented at the Educational Research conference, 18th November 2004, Adelaide, Australia. Ziaian T, Stress Management: an introduction of holistic coping strategies. A Four day Course for the higher degree students. Targeted molecular therapy for advanced epithelial ovarian cancer. Minimally invasive surgery for gynecological cancer. Pharmaceutical Sciences from Shizuoka College of Pharmacy (1976, Japan). He has completed his B. Prophylactic removal of nevi without clinically worrisome characteristics is not recommended. The reasons for this are practical: many individuals in these families have a large number of nevi, and complete removal of them all is not feasible, since new atypical nevi continue to develop. In addition, individuals with increased susceptibility to melanoma may have cancer arise de novo, without a precursor lesion such as a nevus. The disadvantages of screening include the limitations of available noninvasive testing methods and the risks associated with invasive screening procedures. ERCP is the gold standard for http://www.jerseycanada.com/jerseyatlantic/fnt/ultramer.php identifying early cancers and precancerous lesions in the pancreas..