My friend Zinnia (Warrior Princess) called me last night and invited me to go with her to the Day of the Dead Festival downtown Birmingham. "YES!!!!" I shouted. It was a festival I have wanted to attend. And if I couldn't attend in Mexico, the next best thing was to be with my Mexican friend in Birmingham at the Bare Hands Gallery.
The Day of the Dead Festival in Birmingham was the Fifth annual art and cultural festival honoring the Mexican celebration of lost loved ones.El Día de los Muertos at Bare Hands Gallery honors the Mexican tradition in which families gather in local cemeteries to remember their lost loved ones. It is similar to what we in the southern United States refer to as Decoration Day. However, In Mexico, Day of the Dead is an artful, multi-faceted celebration. Each town has a unique way of commemorating the day, but certain symbols are constant. Altars of remembrance display photos of the deceased; their favorite things in life, such as foods, books, games, beverages, cigarettes; marigolds; prayer candles; salt; spices; and copal incense. Family and friends gather around these altars at home and in the cemeteries to share music, memories and prayers.
The ancient belief is that the souls of the deceased will come to visit during Day of the Dead guided by the familiar colors and scents of food, incense and flowers. Other traditional elements include skeletons depicting the deceased doing everyday activities; monarch butterflies whose fall arrival in Mexico symbolizes souls returning to visit; flowers, particularly marigolds, adorning every altar and gravestone; sugar skulls which children decorate and place on altars, and bread of the dead a special bread baked for the occasion. The holiday is a celebration of those that have gone before us and of the memories they have given us. Day of the Dead acknowledges death as an aspect of life. The annual commemoration at Bare Hands Gallery combines community art installation and procession with remembrance, creativity, performance, music and food, honoring this rich cultural tradition and yielding an exquisite downtown arts and cultural event.
The festival was AWESOME! I learned so much!
I couldnt post all my photos tonight via blogger, so I hope you will take the time to watch the slide show. Its quick (you can adjust the speed) and you can see the photos quickly. And you can see who I got to honor in an improptu celebration of the dead.
Peace. And may you find comfort in the loss of any loved ones you might be missing. I pray you take comfort in the celebration in Heaven.
Link: Outdoor Wednesday