This year the Mesa Arts Center hosted an event on their grounds in celebration of the holiday.
Individuals of the community attended the event and engaged in a host of festivities. Local business owners showcased and sold their art. On display were hand-crafted ceramic sugar skulls, and other figurines like a bride and groom. Various paintings and handmade jewelry were also for sale. Business franchises like Food City sold traditional Mexican pastries like churros, conchas, and marranitos.
The Arts Center presented live mariachi bands and Mexican folk dancers. The community was able to join the festivities and enjoy an afternoon of live music and traditional Mexican food. Those who were interested could join the fun of getting a sugar skull painted on their face by a professional cosmetologist. Along with the festivities, Hispanic families of the community volunteered to display ofrendas. Ofrendas are altars decorated with pictures, candles, flowers, and other artifacts representing the deceased“Many believe the happy spirits will give the family wisdom and luck all while keeping the family close,”said Gaudalupe Gutiérrez.
Gutiérrez, a Latin American student says her family does not celebrate the holiday but she is familiar with the traditional Hispanic customs. “In Mexico Día de los Muertos is like a party. Although it’s holiday that celebrates the lives that we have lost, it’s not a sad occasion.” She explained that each day is a representation of different people who have died. “November 1st represents the children who have died and November 2nd represents adults who have died.” When asked if she has created an ofrenda for a loved one, she went into details what she used and what each piece represented. “I made one for my grandmother and I used flowers, candles, pan de muerto, paper machete, water, fruit, and a rosary.”
The candles represent a light that allows the dead to find their way as they come back. Pan de muerto is sweet bread often made in the shape of a skull representing the departed. Other things that are used are things that the dead can take back with them or stuff that was once theirs. All the items used are to help make the dead feel welcome. Dia de los Muertos is a lively holiday that celebrates the dead. This culture uses various traditions to recognize the lives they have lost in a positive way.