Richard Harris standing in front of the Day of the Dead alter
Day of the Dead..Dia de los Muertos..
The Mexican Celebration of Die de los Muertos – or “Day of The Dead” – reveals a very different attitude towards death compared with the European tradition. Written reference of Die de los Muertos has been found dating to as early as 1740s. The tradition has a strong foundation in Mexican folk arts, with a significant contribution from 19th and 20th century urban culture, especially popular prints and newspapers…
Dia de los Muertos is celebrated on Nov 1 and 2nd. While Christian tradition calls this “All Saints Day” and “All Souls’ Day”, respectively, Dia de los Muertos almost certainly combines pre-conquest Mexican culture with Catholic practise. Dea de los Muertos is a holiday designated for the living. Its alters and images are not part of funeral masses, not are they placed in cemeteries at other time of the year. In contrast to funeral, Die de los Muertos is a time of celebration and it’s elements are epemeral. Most of the things used in observing Die de los Muertos are temporary; food is quickly consumed, the alters are provisional, the decorations made of straw and colored paper, are fragile and impernament. The toys and foods have a humerous quality different from customs surrounding the burial of the dead.
On Dia de los Muertos the spirit of the dead are believed to return and visit the alters created for them by friends and relatives, who hold vigil at family graves. Alters to the dead are constructed beginning with a covered table, boxes and crates are stacked on top to create impressive spaces for the display of photographs of the dead. The alter are laden with molded sugar skulls, crosses and images of Virgin mary. Special Dan de Muerto [bread of the dead] and marigolds attract departed souls. Soap, water and razors are added so that the dead may clean up after this journey, favourite treats such as tequila and cigarettes are also provided by the living. While erecting their ancestral shrines, friends and relatives gather and relate found memories and humerous stories of the deceased.
For more on Richard Harris collection on Day of the Dead, click here..
Rudolfo Villano Hernandez [Mexican]
A commemoration of the Bicentennial Proclamation of the Independence of Mexico [2010-11]