Day of the Dead sculpture, Altar for Prince, Girl dressed up as La Catrina, Altar decorated with marigolds
MOLAA hosted their annual Dia de los Muertos festival
Words and Photos by Julia Velasco-Aguilar Contributor
Día de Los Muertos came to the Museum of Latin American Arts (MoLAA) on October 30th. As a Central American. And I know that Dia de Los Muertos is more of a borrowed festivity from Mexico and that there are certain rituals that don’t follow throughout the rest of Central and South America. Additionally, I had never been to MoLAA so this was an adventure of discovery for me.
As I entered the museum, the first thing that caught my attention was the one (of the many) altar[s] that was captivating with its vibrant marigolds surrounding pictures of deceased Latino artists and family members. There were also plenty of tamales offered to the dead that definitely made me crave some.
The rest of the museum was still open so I got distracted a little, went ahead and walked around the gallery. Once the distraction was over, I went back to the entrance of the festival and the entrance was beautifully decorated with Día de Los Muertos art. Sculptures of skeletons and an entire room full of altars. There was an altar that demonstrated in a small way how each country in Central America captivates the holiday. There was another altar dedicated to Prince.
While being in the altar room, I could hear trumpets, my first and correct guess was Mariachis performing in a large room in the back. The room was crowded with activities. As soon as you entered the room, there was the calavera (skull) face painting on the right with a long line of children of all backgrounds waiting with their parents. On the opposite side, there were the arts and crafts tables. Those tables were also filled with children and their parents trying to make paper flowers.
And in the center of the room, the crowd surrounded the mariachi and the folkloric dancers. Because there had been some morning showers that day, everyone wanted to be inside and dry but the room was not big enough for everyone and it was overcrowded and hot.
There were food trucks and crafts vendors outside that struggled keeping themselves and their products dry. The food remained intact. The churros, chicharrones, tacos, and candy apples were there, ready to be eaten. There was going to be a calavera contest fashion show that I unfortunately didn’t get to attend. However, I was able to capture the work of some of the contestants.
Dia de Los Muertos was very well projected by MoLAA and I felt very happy for attending. It heightened up my Latina roots.