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Day of the Dead: Día de los Muertos, a Personal View

by Yesica Pineda

Writer Yesica Pineda takes a personal look at Day of the DeadDía de los Muertos.  Celebrate with her.


Dia de los Muertos: Day of the Dead. A poignant time of celebration.

“Rest in Peace.” How would you like to be celebrated once you are dead? Personally, I want people to be happy when they think of me. Maybe because I myself grew up in a family that celebrates the death with joy, or maybe because, as a Mexican girl, I identify with a way of living that honors death as a way to remember how to honor life. After all, Mexico is known around the world for its beautiful celebrations on November 1-2, Day of the Dead:  Día de los Muertos. It is tradition to create an altar where our Dead’s favorite food and drinks are placed, with the idea that the dead will come and celebrate with the living. During this time, Mexico is filled with multidimensional energy — a unity that is represented through art and music and some pageantry. San Jose del Cabo is no exception:  Festivals and art exhibits color the town.

This year our authentic Art District launches the Art Walk with this festivities. Each gallery will have altars and decorations, live music and dancing in the street in conjunction with the town’s celebration which presents Día de Muertos Festival. One of my favorite Mexican traditions related to the Day of the Dead is what we know as “calaveras.” The calaveras are laconic epitaphs written in verse and dedicated to friends and others only on the Day of the Dead. What makes them such a great tradition is once a year, everybody is free to express what they think about each other without fear, because everyone expects it to be a truthful and humorous observation. Because people don’t find it easy to speak their minds about each other, the calaveras are considered a type of brave literature. It dates back to the XIX century. The writer must see death with a good sense of humor, write it in verse (octaves or tenths), the rest is freestyle. Here is my calavera for this year! To my father:

Este poeta y trovador

valiente siempre y soñador

esta vez por ser valiente

se quedó soñando en muerte.

A traditional altar for Día de los Muertos: Day of the Dead

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