Village Comes Alive at Day of the Dead


Last updated 11/15/2021 at 1:35pm

Martha Deichler

The Borrego Art Institute (BAI) opened its doors to yet another special occasion, a celebration of "Dia de los Muertos" or Day of the Dead and over 300 locals came to participate. This annual event is recognized on the 1st and 2nd of November and brings to life happy memories for families as they honor their deceased loved ones.

Many have heard about Day of the Dead or seen classic sugar skull paintings. So, what does this celebration really represent?

Primarily, it is associated with the Catholic celebrations of All Saints Day and All Souls Day. It has a much less solemn tone and is portrayed as a joyful celebration rather than a day of mourning. A Christian cross is used to ask the Virgin Mary to pray for them with candles, incense and abundant flowers present on the altars. It differs greatly from Halloween, which is a dark night of terror and mischief, but the point is to demonstrate love and respect for deceased family members. Funky makeup and costumes contribute to remembering funny events and anecdotes about the departed.

Eighteen altars were set up at the BAI that attracted visitors of all ages and from all walks of life. The altars are called "ofrendas" with traditional foods set out offering a variety of salsas, sweet candies, tamales and tortillas. Cigarettes, beer and Coca-cola were among the favorite foods of the departed. The pungent scent of marigolds is thought to attract souls from cemeteries to their family homes. Anything and everything goes. Nothing is forgotten throughout the two day festivity. It is a joyful time that can take pain and suffering away and replace these sad feelings with a positive understanding of life.

The four seasons and the four elements are also symbols of life featured on the altars. It is widely acknowledged that we live in a material world governed and regulated by a fragile balance of the universe and more importantly within ourselves.

In today's world, Mexicans from all religions and ethnic backgrounds celebrate Dia de Los Muertos and at its core, the holiday is a reaffirmation of indigenous life. Congratulations to all the local families that contributed to sharing another aspect of believing. Although on this occasion, this belief was overridden by a "knowingness and certainty" of the power of love and the spirit never dies. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

Life is good. Enjoy!

Rendered 02/29/2024 19:30