Saturday, November 1, 2014

Dia De Los Muertos/Old Town San Diego Pt.2

(Flickr User Kerri Lee Smith/CC)
What Is Dia De Los Muertos? 

The day after Halloween is known as All Saints Day in the Catholic Church it is a sort of catch all day for saints who might not have a specific feast day at some other time of the year. When Spain invaded Aztec Mexico, the tradition of All Saints Day collided with an Aztec celebration of ancestry that took place Annually and would last up to a month at a time.

The Aztecs did not look upon death as a loss, but instead as a transition to the world of the dead. The tradition was that during the festival, the dead could return and commune with the living, in celebration altars to honor the deceased loved ones would be erected at their graves and adorned with items that made the loved one happy in life.

Shots of favorite liquors or plates of favorite foods would be laid out on the altars. Families would gather to celebrate the opportunity to "visit"m their loved ones. Candy Skulls would be made to serve as treats and to jest death. A special bread would be made exclusively for the holiday and golden marigold flowers are used extensively to decorate as they are considered particularly attractive to the dead souls,

When the Spaniards came to Mexico, the conquered Aztecs modified their traditions to fit into the Catholic Calendar. All Saints Day became the distinctively Mexican Dia De Los Muertos, or The Day of The Dead. November 1st was the day that passed adults were celebrated while November 2 extended the Catholic Calendar by celebrating in a special fashion those who passed as children, Los Innocentes.

To help explain the holiday I have a couple of short playlists of YouTube videos for you. Starting of with a more adult explanation we have a video from Hispanic Cultural Center. It is a bit dry so I have another video that breaks it down explaining its modern relevance. The narrator of this video, Mayitzin, has a fairly heavy accent so a give you one more, this one from more of a hipster comic type of guy, Oh Em Gee, It's Eddie G! .

Museum films and talking heads are too dry for your tastes? Then perhaps a cartoon is more your style.  have a playlist of three of them for you to enjoy. Film School Shorts gives us a charming story of a little girl who discovers the true meaning of Dia De Los Muertos. The students at LISAA produced our next 2011 animation, unusual and symbolic interpretation of the holiday. Then we have an episode of Nickelodeon classic, the Thornberrys where a trip to Mexico to study the Day of the Dead has surprising consequences.

Dia De Los Muertos In Old Town San Diego

Old San Diego in the heyday of Old Town was a blend of Yankee Americans, Mexicans who had been in the area since the 1700's, and the remnants of the Native American populations who had not been killed in epidemics.

Dia De Los Muertos was certainly celebrated by the Mexican community in San Diego at the time. Today it is held as large festival that takes place on the two days following Halloween every year, We are lucky enough to time our virtual voyage up the Old Highway 101 to be in Old Town for the celebration. I will let the good people of Flickr and YouTube tell you about the previous festivals to give you an idea of what we would see this year.

(Flickr User hgrimes/CC)

(Flickr User Mike Souza/CC)

(Flickr User hgrimes/CC)

(Flickr User hgrimes/CC)
(Flickr User Yvonne Esperanza/CC)

(Flickr User Alon Banks/CC)
(Flickr User Rebeca Anchondo/CC)

(Flickr User Celia Alba/CC)

Playlist Additions

Death, Skulls, Candy. Flowers, Family, and Fiestas all seem to be at the heart of Dia De Los Muertos. We will make them the heart of our playlist as well with a pair of songs tied to each theme.

(Flickr User Bisayan lady/CC)

(Flickr User Tom/CC)

Signing Off and Coming Attractions

The Day Of The Dead is a beautiful tradition and uniquely Mexican. Do you celebrate Dia De Los Muertos? What do you like best about the holiday, is the morbidly beautiful skull imagery, is the ancestor worship, or maybe its the candy. Let me know what you think in the comments.

Next Week: Leaving Jupiter and hitting the highway. We will drive up Interstate 95 and gobble up a few miles heading North through Central Florida.
Two Weeks: Features a guest post discussing a key event from Chicago history from well before Route 66 was built in Illinois,
Three Weeks: Old Highway 101 awaits us in our journey through San Diego heading North up the California Coast. Before we can drive, there is still more to see in Old Town San Diego.

                                                              Mileage Stats

Route 66: 0 Miles/1 State/621 Tracks/141 Videos/26 Posts
Highway 101: 23  Miles/2 Countries/1 State/530 Tracks/237 Videos/24 Posts
Interstate 95: 84 Miles/1 State/30 Tracks/70 Videos/9 Posts
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