Photo Essay: Day of the Dead

I missed out on the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations last year and was not going to make that mistake again. We made it our priority to walk down to La Villita, a block of San Antonio where the arts rule, to enjoy the Mexican festivities.

The first thing to notice is that Dia de los Muertos is not necessarily a time of sadness. Rather, it is a time to honor those who have passed with music, altars, and face paint. The altars can be extraordinarily detailed – so much so that you know everything about the person to whom it is dedicated. Photos, flowers, music, and other things were frequently included. There was even an altar dedicated to a horse and two dogs. Though I do not have an artistic bone in my body, I found myself wanting to create an altar for my own loved ones – though it would probably look like one of my childhood crafts that my mom kept just to make me feel better. Speaking of children, there were many altars that were made by local elementary school students. And let me just say, these kids are talented. I mean, the level of detail they put into their altars was amazing.

While walking around La Villita and voting on which altars were the best, traditional Mexican music could be heard throughout the area. There was this one especially cute couple that sang a few Mexican love songs. I almost fainted from cuteness overload. The people were happy; Kids had their faces painted or cut out their own masks; and there was even pan de muerto (bread of the dead) for people to eat at the altars. The face painting was amazing. Who knew that skull face paint could be so beautiful? In addition to beautiful face paint, many artists came from all over to sell their traditional Dia de los Muertos art. It was skull-tastic, to say the least. And, did I mention, they produced absolutely gorgeous pieces of work?

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Post and Photos by Grace Tweedy.