Dia de los Muertos is an annual celebration of the lives of our dearly departed. Although it is often celebrated in Mexico on November 2nd, many Los Angeleans celebrate Dia de los Muertos due to its large Mexican population who want to adhere to the traditions of their ancestors. The cultural tradition of Dia de los Muertos involves building altars, often adorned with artwork, candles and photos of the deceased. The friends and relatives of those who have passed away congregate around the altars for a celebratory meal to celebrate the lives of the departed. Oftentimes, this involves adorning the altars with symbols of the dearly beloved’s interests and/or passions so that the memory of their lives in the physical world can be celebrated. It is believed that the spirit of the dearly departed visits the physical world during these gatherings and, so long as the memories of the lives lead by the departed are honored, they will continue to visit those still left in the physical world at this annual event.
I was able to visit Grand Park’s Downtown Dia, Downtown Los Angeles’ public exhibition display of a series of altars for the centuries-old Mexican tradition Dia de los Muertos. From modern to traditional styles, local artists expressed their individual interpretations of what The Day of the Dead means to them. Honoring loved ones who have passed or, in some cases, taking the opportunity to express public outcries for those who have passed unjustly and have since become symbolic figures for societal change, were prominently featured here.
Whether or not you are honoring the memory of a loved one who has since passed, Downtown Dia is a great community event worth checking out because of its shared human experience of honoring one’s legacy long after its expiration in the physical world. Take my word for it, it is a worthwhile and moving experience.
Downtown Dia: Altars + Art
October 29, 2016 – November 2, 2016
200 North Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90012
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