Dia De Los Muertos Festival in Phoenix

Friday, September 23, 2005

If I *could*, I would make it so that my life consisted of traveling all the time, going from festival to festival. Art festivals, food festivals, holiday festivals. Any kind of festival. I would be there.

Phoenix has a festival called the 'Dia De Los Muertos Festival' ("Dia De Los Muertos" means "Day of the Dead") from October 31 to November 2.

Okay, that sounds different.

This is from the festival website:

Unlike the Spaniards, who viewed death as the end of life, the natives viewed it as the continuation of life. Instead of fearing death, they embraced it. To them, life was a dream and only in death did they become truly awake.

"The pre-Hispanic people honored duality as being dynamic," said Christina Gonzalez, senior lecturer on Hispanic issues at Arizona State University. "They didn't separate death from pain, wealth from poverty like they did in Western cultures."



When Av and I visited Santa Fe in 2001, I fell *so* in love with the city. We stayed at the Hotel St. Francis which was about 1/2 the cost some of the very-established hotels in the central square (the plaza). Our room was a little small, but it was very nice. The only thing about staying at that particular hotel was that we missed having a kiva - a traditional fireplace - in our room. We stayed just slightly off the central square (the Plaza) where there are so many things to do and see. In particular, I remember that we had this wonderful supper one night at the Eldorado Hotel's restaurant, The Old House, which is a four- or five- star restaurant. Nice.

There are hundreds and hundreds of galleries in Santa Fe, in the plaza area, but also in areas that you drive to, up dirt roads....there was just one after another. Santa Fe is one of those places where you really, really wish you had an endless supply of money.

I noticed that so many of the galleries had these things I'd never seen before - they were like little shrine/spirit house/altar piece/memory boxes with little skeletons and things like that inside. They were inspired by / for Dia De Los Muertos! Okay, even though they had things inside that are traditionally thought of as 'scary' (by me, anyway), they were so beautiful! Many of the skeletons seemed to be....happy! They were dancing, or wearing formal attire! Really different, and really neat.

More art in this genre can be seen here, The Museum of International Folk Art has something about the holiday here, articles about the holiday are here and here, instructions on how to make one of the crafts traditional for Dia De Los Muertos - "sugar skulls" - can be found here, and DIY Network has a little tutorial on how to make a small altar here. An altar that the azcentral.com website made to Barry White can be found here, and it includes all kinds of descriptions about why certain things are traditional, and how to customize an altar.

I've never been to Phoenix, and my birthday *is* coming up....hmmmm....

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