By KELLY JOHNSTON, NAYELLI BERMUDEZ and GAEL PEREZ
Colorful papel picado adorned with skulls crisscrossed the Olvera Street sky as hundreds of people came to visit the culturally rich street amidst preparations for the Day of the Dead. Among these hundreds of people, the La Plaza News publication joined them to take a field trip on Oct. 30. Surrounded by countless decorative skulls and carefully composed altars, it was clear that it was almost time to celebrate the Day of the Dead.
All around the world, people of Mexican heritage celebrate the Day of the Dead in order to honor the dead in their family.
The Day of the Dead originated with the Aztecs more than 3,000 years ago. They believed that in order for the dead to reach their final resting place, they needed help from the living. Therefore, the living would provide their dead loved ones with food and clothing to aid them in their trip. This historic practice inspired the modern traditions of the Day of the Dead.
Olvera Street in Los Angeles, California, among many other communities, celebrate the Day of the Dead with street vendors, face painting, music and altars. Typical traditions include building altars with multiple layers, including the person’s pictures, favorite foods and day-to-day favorites.
The altars are especially important to the celebration. They are assembled so that past loved ones can come to visit their families and friends. (NAYELLI BERMUDEZ and KELLY JOHNSTON / La Plaza Photos)
Olvera Street face painter Carolina Sanchez said, “To celebrate the Day of the Dead, we make altars for the people in the family who have died; the altars are a symbol so they can visit us that day.”
Sanchez helped her community honor the Day of the Dead through “face painting sugar skulls, which is a celebration…with makeup and flowers.” (NAYELLI BERMUDEZ / La Plaza Photos)
Mexican vendor Tina Madrid prepared “the altars to celebrate [her] past loved ones.” She said, “This is always busy this time of year.” (ETHAN DEWRI / La Plaza Photos)
In addition to building the altars, the families kept busy setting up their loved one’s favorite foods as offerings to welcome them home. The food prepared varied from person to person, but common foods included Pan de Muertos, candied pumpkins and sugar skulls.
Pan de Muertos, specifically, is one of the most significant foods placed on the altar as it symbolizes the soul of the dead.
Vendor of the family-owned business Myrosa Enterprises on Olvera Street, Rosa Mariscal said, “We have many products throughout the whole year but the sugar skulls are made specifically for Day of the Dead.” (ETHAN DEWRI / La Plaza Photos)
Olvera Street also celebrated the Day of the Dead through face painting, decorations and festivals that include music, dancing, food and games.
People across the globe celebrate the Day of the Dead to honor the dead of their families. Although the celebration only lasts a mere two days, there is no doubt that it leaves a lasting impact as people celebrate their past loved ones. In a growing globalized world, it is clear that Olvera Street continues to value tradition and Mexican culture.
To further celebrate with Olvera Street, join them as they host the annual Posadas from Dec. 16-24. Piñatas, champurrado and traditional songs are sure to be present.
Lea este artículo en español aquí: https://laplaza.press/2019/11/19/placita-olvera-celebra-el-dia-de-los-muertos/