When the US is busy preparing to have the spookiest Halloween celebration, their neighboring country, Mexico, is working extremely hard to have the brightest yet most exotic Halloween-like and traditional celebration for themselves. Termed El Dia de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead), this Mexican festival in the memorial of the dead is celebrated on the 31st of October, while some other regions of Mexico start this celebration on the 1st or 2nd of November.
When we come to think about the various connotations of death, we usually anticipate grief and tragedy over the lost one, and this is followed with a funeral which is an event implemented with a universality of dark toned colors and with absolute seriousness. However, this quite generalized way of thinking regarding death is diametrically contradicted by Mexico’s way of remembering the ones who have left us.
With the celebration El Dia de los Muertos, Mexico uses bright colors and vivid music with great allegory and wide smiles to happily cherish every moment of the celebration. Never in this event will one find a speck of sadness. Although this fact is very quizzical, Mexico has its own valid explanations. They believe that if friends and family who remain in the mortal realm celebrate the memory of the ones who have left their side with joy, the dead ones will also have the opportunity to live in an eternally jubilant afterlife. Alternatively, once the friends and family forget to celebrate the dead ones and forget to remember their prior existence, the souls of the dead ones will forever live in misery. Therefore, to prevent the confrontation of a miserable afterlife for the dead ones, a large number of Mexicans celebrate El Dia de los Muertos.
A few weeks ago, the Interlomas community of Huixquilucan, Mexico City began preparing for El Dia de los Muertos. This process is very exciting to observe, especially seeing the making of the countless traditional foods such as the pan de muerto (bread of the dead). The scale of influence is massive: each and every inhabitant of Interlomas tries to implement the best possible Dia de los Muertos.
To achieve a deeper insight into this delightful event, personal points of view from the Interlomas inhabitants was necessary. Ms. Linsey Holden, the head of Art & Design of Design of Greengates School, shared her thoughts through an interview with JSR. She said, “Being the head of the Arts & Design department of Greengates School, I have always had surprises from the new environment called Mexico. But this Dia de los Muertos celebration and preparation honestly has to be number 1. Recently, our school has started a competition for drawing a poster that best depicts this event. This fiery event brought many interests of young Greengates artists and it is delight to supervise and evaluate amazing pieces of artwork. Also, I honestly love the food and festive atmosphere of this event!”
If Greengates school has a competition to offer, so does the larger Interlomas community. Wan Soo Kim, the current President of the Samsung Electronic Factory in Interlomas, Mexico City, stated, “Not so long ago, our factory boosted with El Dia de los Muertos spirit with many activities. One of them include the competition to make the most attractive ritual altar in memorial of an important one. Of course, there were many bright colors and vividness. This event has really brought the color our factory needed once in awhile and I was glad to heighten the traditional spirit and working spirit as a unity.”
Last but not least, Juan Pablo Diaz, a local police officer of Interlomas department was willing to share his part in informing us about the family scale of the Dia de los Muertos celebration. According to Diaz, “although we don’t celebrate massively, we prepare all the necessary things, such as the food: pan de muerto (bread of the dead), tamales colados, enchiladas, potosinas, tamales guanajuatenses and much more. This is always a memorable party for all the family members. If only the ones who left could be with us… Haha!”
Overall, Dia de los Muertos is a unique and lively event that brings joy to Mexicans and to those who were once close in the past, and still in the present. El dia de los Muertos will continue to be an honor among Mexico’s prideful traditions, and the Interlomas community will continue to improve its felicity to its inhabitants and to people who have not yet experienced such joy.