Consider watching Coco & The Book of Life on Netflix to get a good grasp on the famous Mexican tradition. The cartoon is a fantastic way to explain this amazing Aztec tradition that you can enjoy with your kids.
The dead are believed to celebrate with the living on that day. You will see “Ofrendas” – offering including the drinks and food at the grave altars. The whole concept revolves around respecting the departed and enjoying time with your friends and family.
Seemingly unusual to foreigners tradition of celebrating the death is actually the opposite of what it sounds like. Day of the dead is actually a celebration of life!
The 9 day Mexican celebration taking place at the origin of Los Angeles – Nuestra Señora Reina de los Ángeles Asistencia is one you don’t want to miss. The celebration culminates in grand performance and ends on November 2nd.
Calle Olvera dia de los muertos
Calle Olvera serves as a arts and performance platform for many Latin American cultures, especially Mexican. The neighborhood is widely believed to be the cradle of Los Angeles, and should be a definite stop on a savvy tourist itinerary. Its a great place to explore with your kids.
You will positively have a good time participating in celebration of various Mexican holidays like the Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe (Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe) – celebrated on December 12th or the Day of the dead – celebrated on November 2nd.
Here’s a web link for a comprehensive list of 35 places to celebrate Dia de los Muertos in Southern California. Here’s another useful list we found to check out the Day of the Dead in Socal. The third not-all-encompassing list of celebration all around the state of California on Nov 2nd is found here.
Day of the dead vs Halloween
Historically the day of the dead – November 2nd almost coincides with the Halloween -October 31st and creates a note of confusion especially for people not from U.S. These are totally two different holidays and shouldn’t be confused.
Halloween has become a global sensation and usually celebrated by the adults. It’s a great reason to dress up in provocative outfits and hang out with your friends. Children wear costumes and go from door to door “Trick or treating” – asking for candy. We however prefer heading out for a little hike to giant Pumpkin head in Norco.
The focal point of the vibrant and intricately decorated Mexican custom, Dia de las muerte, is the commemoration of family member’s lives. Just like everything in life – the pre-colonial cultures took hardship with an once of humor and celebration rather than mourning.
Tradition predates European influence nevertheless combining many of Catholic elements into the ritual.
The tradition originated in Mexico although marked through Latin America. You will see the skeleton face painters near the cemeteries of the plazas. Kahlovera is pretty well known artist, from SoCal who draws amazing intricate calavera designs. Tere’s a good chance that you can catch here at the Olvera street on Nov 2nd creating here fleeting pasterpeices.
Each country has little intricacies associated with the day of the dead and will differ from one community to the other.
Is it a cultural appropriation to face paint and celebrate if you’re not Mexican?
Totally not! Everyone is more than welcome to have fun and take part in sharing stories about their families. We definitely enjoyed this uncommon Latin American concept and going to celebrate it from now on.