With our close proximity to Mexico it is no wonder that El Dia de los Muertos, (The Day of the Dead) is a thing here in New Mexico as well, and knowing Burqueños as I do, (being one), any excuse for a party!
El Dia de los Muertos is a traditional Mexican Celebration where one honors the family members that have passed on to the next life. The favorite foods of the deceased are prepared and laid out on alters created in their honor. A parade to the local cemetery is usually part of the celebration, and the grave sites are cleaned up and the sites are decorated with flowers, traditionally marigolds. The dead must be honored and welcomed to spend another year helping and watching over the living.
People will wear skull masks, but this does not have anything to do with Halloween other than it’s close proximity in date, as Day(s) of the Dead is celebrated the day of All Saints Day, which is November 1 and All Souls Day on November 2. Traditional Skull Candy is made, offered and then devoured by the living. Breads are made and offered as well, called Pan de Muertos.
Besides the Catholic influence, the roots of this holiday go beyond the church back to Mesoamerican native traditions, and as so as often happens, the native’s holiday once again in melded with the conqueror’s religion. You may read more about this in Helen Tafoya-Barraza’s paper - Beginning History of the Day of the Dead. A very interesting must read.
The Annual South Valley Dia de Los Muertos Marigold Parade will be held on Nov 1, and there will be vendors, music, art and food at the Westside Community Center at 1250 Isleta Blvd SE. Look here for the details on that.
At the South Broadway Cultural Center they will be celebrating Dia Del los Muertos in several ways and on several days from Oct 29 through Nov 1, including an art reception, an animated film film, a play, a musical group, dancing, all celebrating this holiday. Kids are encouraged to attend and there will be face painting, piñata breaking and crafts. Please check the SBCC page on the city website for details, dates and times.
There is a great store, Masks y Mas, in the Nob Hill District of Albuquerque that offers Day of the Dead arts and crafts year round, so be sure to check them out no matter what season you are visiting Albuquerque. You may also check them out online
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