Borrego Art Institute Comes Alive on Day of the Dead
Last updated 11/18/2022 at 10:33am
As incense wafted through the BAI and candles flickered warmly around the room, dozens of local families and friends came to commune with and remember deceased loved ones. Colorful altars had been constructed earlier in the day to include the many traditional symbolic items such as marigolds, salt, skulls, skeletons and pan de muertos (special sweet bread). Photos of the departed loved ones adorned the altars as well as dishes of their favorite foods and drinks (ofrendas).
Celebrated around the world by folks of Mexican heritage, Day of the Dead or Dia de los Muertos, is held on November 1 (for children) and November 2 (for adults). Although associated with the Catholic celebrations of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day, it has a much less solemn tone and is in reality a joyful remembrance of loved ones and an invitation to their souls to find their way to the altars (via the strong marigold scent). Upon arriving, the salt will purify their souls and the food and drinks will let them know that their living family and friends have not forgotten them and their favorite things. The brightly painted skills and garish looking skeletons add a bit of humor and gaiety to this event.
It is not uncommon for folks to dance and laugh in hopes of waking up the dead to ensure their presence at the altars. Family and friends revel in the presence of the deceased ones' souls and truly believe in this commune with them.
In addition to the dozens of local families' personal and beautiful altars, the BAI was excited to include this year an altar by de Anza residents, Michael and Jenise Buckner, who have a long and illustrious history of Day of the Dead altars in San Diego's Old Town. Their extensive travel throughout Mexico has resulted in a rich and rare collection of items representing this tradition of Dia de los Muertos. Many of these were displayed on their altar.
The Borrego Art Institute's goal to include and celebrate art and creativity in all of its forms was truly on display the evening of November 2. In addition, the cultural diversity that is Borrego was recognized and celebrated, bringing the community together under the common language of love and remembrance of lost friends and family members.
This event was sponsored and generously supported by the Borrego Art Institute. OLAX (Organizacion de Latinx), a local group created to support the Latino Community, was instrumental in the organization and coordination of the altars under the leadership of Esmeralda Garcia and Alicia Ramirez.