Girl Report | Riverside Day of the Dead

 

 

Picture1Long ago, people in Mexico celebrated their loved ones and pets in a unique way, the Spanish called the celebration Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead). This was not a day to mourn or be sad, instead, it was a day of celebration and happiness. The celebration is so grand that everyone participates in various ways such as dancing, cooking, and painting.

In October, the people of Mexico prepare elaborate and beautiful altars in memory of the dead. These alters include marigolds, which is a flower that represents this holiday. Pan de dulce is a bread coated with sugar which is eaten and displayed on altars.The people wanted their loved ones to feel welcomed, so they would display their favorite food as part of the altar, and yes, sometimes a fully cooked meal, complete with tacos, beans, and rice. How awesome is that! Also, on display at the altars were other items their loved ones liked such as cards, their favorite entertainment, and various type of games.

Picture2Present day, November 2nd is the Day of Celebration and remembrance of our loved ones. In many stores, you will find wonderful decorations, specialty food, and many games dedicated to this celebration. Most schools teach about this day with fun activities like Papel Picado. Communities around the world also gather to make neighborhood events so that others can learn and have fun. One such community is the city of Riverside.

Families from all over Riverside County participated in remembering the dead with the City of Riverside on November 4th in downtown Riverside. On that day, I had the amazing experience of experiencing this festival. As soon as you walked in there was a band playing festive music to a crowd of hundreds of people with an amazing backdrop of beautiful art. I just had to stop and listen, the music was so good it gave me chills!

As I walked down the street, which was closed to cars, both sidewalks were filled with Mexican food and desserts. One popular dish from Mexico is tamales, which is made with either pork, chicken, or corn, covered in delicious masa. A popular dessert at the festival from Mexico is conchas. It is a bread, typically found in Mexican bakeries with colored sugar on top. Yum! Another common theme at many of the booths was a booth where people became art by getting their faces painted as traditional Day of the Dead skull artwork.

Picture3We entered into the altar display area at White Park, to the right were ladies selling marigolds along with many other Day of the Dead themed souvenirs. Then, I saw this tremendous altar with so many pictures, candles, artwork and food offerings. As I continued, I began to see altar after altar, there were so many! You could tell that each one was made with great care by the families.

Just when I thought I saw it all, all of sudden my ears were awaked by the sound of native drums with at least 20 feathered dancers dancing inside of a circle of at least 100 people. The dancers brought smiles to people’s faces because of their energy and passion. Nearby, was a real wrestling arena, yes, it was Lucha Libre! There were two men fighting in masks with an announcer describing the action on a loudspeaker.

I am still overwhelmed with all of the sights and sounds at this incredible festival and I already can’t wait to come back. I hope you will join me next year.

 

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