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Dia De Los Muertos: Day Of The Dead In Elk Grove

Dia De Los Muertos: Day Of The Dead In Elk Grove
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Dia de los Muertos – Day of the Dead

Celebrating The Day Of The Dead

Dia de Los Muertos or Day of the Dead in beautiful Elk Grove was celebrated on Sunday, November 1. The celebration was held at Marketplace 99 located on East Stockton Boulevard. Dia de Los Muertos is a Mexican holiday, originating in Mexico, and celebrated all over the US. It is also celebrated in other parts of the world including Japan, and other countries, who follow our diverse American traditions and culture.

Day of the Dead is a festivity of life and of death, a day that portrays a celebration, rather than mourning. It is a multi-day holiday that is celebrated right after Halloween on October 31. The holiday typically falls on November 1 through November 2. This is a sacred day and time, set aside, to honor our friends and family members who have passed away. It is associated with the Catholic celebrations of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. It involves friends and family members gathering together to pray for, and remember loved ones who are no longer with us here on earth.

 

Honoring The Dead With Sacred Altars

A tradition during Dia de Los Muertos is the creation of beautiful altars otherwise known as ofrendas. These sacred altars created by families honor their deceased loved ones. It is believed that the dearly departed return home to their families and loved ones on earth during this time to enjoy the special offerings on these altars. Photos of ancestors, grandparents, great-grandparents, and all family members who have passed away, sit majestically on the altars as sacred shrines. Gorgeous flowers such as Aztec marigolds or Mexican marigolds are used to decorate and beautify the altars. Also candles, religious statues, crosses, and crucifixes are placed on the ofrendas.

Some altars are decorated with the deceased loved ones’ favorite fruits, books, musical instruments, and other personal belongings. Edible or decorative skulls called calaveras, made of sugar or clay are used as part of the decorative ornaments placed on the altars. Smaller skulls represent children who have passed away and larger skulls represent the adults. Skeletons are also used as decorations and are created from many different materials such as wood, sugar, nuts, and chocolate. When used as offerings, the name of the deceased is usually written on colored foil, and across the forehead of each skull and skeleton.

Skulls & Skeletons

La Calavera Catarina

Skulls and skeletons represent the Day of the Dead. La Calavera Catarina is the referential image of death in Mexico and the icon of Dia de Los Muertos. Jose Guadalupe Posada was the famous Mexican artist who designed La Catarina in 1910-1913. Also known as the ‘Dapper Skeleton’ or the ‘Elegant Skull’, the picture depicts a female skeleton dressed only in a hat. Her chapeau is related to the European style of the early 20th-century fashion. The story is about a woman who was ashamed of her indigenous origins and dressed to imitate the French style, while wearing excessive amounts of makeup to make her skin appear very white. Face-painting with sugar skull makeup and dressing up as La Calavera Catarina is also a way of celebrating this special day in Mexico, the US and all over the world.

 

Face Painting skulls or calaveras

Traditional Food On Dia De Los Muertos

Traditional Mexican dishes are usually prepared for the Day of the Dead family gatherings. Chicken Tamales and Pan-Roasted Chicken Breasts with Mole Negro are among the favorites. Mole Negro is a chile-and-chocolate sauce, a classic dish served on Dia De Los Muertos. It is typically served with crisp-skinned chicken breasts and candied pumpkins. The traditional drink is the Oaxacan Hot Chocolate, a hot chocolate that is bitter-sweet and spiked with spices. The traditional Day of the Dead Cookies, which are chocolate and sugar skull-shaped cookies, are created and served. They are dedicated to the dead during this holiday.

Day of the Dead Cookies dedicated to the dead

Celebrating Dia De Los Muertos In Elk Grove

Elk Grove is a city known for its diversity and a city that celebrates diversity. Every year, Marketplace 99 holds the festivities for Dia de Los Muertos in Elk Grove. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, Marketplace 99 held a tent display contest and a drive-thru for viewing of beautiful family altars.

The drive-thru was free to all visitors during the hours of 2-5 pm, this past Sunday afternoon. Additionally, cash prizes were offered to first, second and third place winners. Many supported the competition by attending the drive-thru and voting for the best altar display. Several families participated in the contest. The contestants set up their own sacred family altars in tents to celebrate their deceased loved ones. They each proudly shared with the public the beautiful Mexican tradition of Dia de Los Muertos. They proudly celebrated the lives of their deceased loved ones and their personal histories with us.

Congratulations to all the contestants who shared their sacred altars with us! Thank you for participating, for sharing, and for celebrating Dia de Los Muertos with Elk Grove!

 

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About The Author

Michelle Silveira

Michelle is an American television actress from Hollywood contracted with Disney and Warner Bros. Studios who is known for her comedic roles in many television shows including The Steve Harvey Show, Step by Step and Living Single. She holds a bachelor’s degree from SFSU in Psychology and Drama. Michelle has a passion for film, television, world travel, history and culture. She is an avid reader and an inspiring movie buff with a keen sense of fashion and food along with a deep love for animals, people and life.

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