Dia de los Muertos Goes Virtual
We’ve all been thinking about our mortality a lot more than usual as we make our way through the pandemic, but an ancient festival has been celebrating our relationship with the dead for as many as 3,000 years.
Whether you consider it cultural appropriation or appreciation, Dia de los Muertos, the Mexican holiday honoring the dead, has been growing in popularity in the United States, especially in the West over the past few decades. It even inspired a new Barbie last year and movies like Pixar’s Coco. But with pandemic precautions, this year will look very different.
Celebrations of the holiday in the L.A. area have taken place for more than 40 years, according to L.A. Taco, and first gained traction after the Los Angeles-based, non-profit Self Help Graphics began hosting events. The organization will have a virtual event on Sunday, Nov. 1 with music, speakers and art demonstrations. So you don’t have to live in Los Angeles to feel like a real Angeleno.
If you do live in the area, the Los Angeles Grand Park and The Music Center Plaza will have altars and public art on display as well as digital content for home viewing. Other Los Angeles area Dia de los Muertos events are taking place in Downey and Santa Monica, and of course, online. Organizers of in-person events are asking participants to use social distancing and masks.
In Seattle, a virtual event is planned on Nov. 1 at noon. The Seattle festival began as a grassroots effort in 1998 and as it grew, eventually moved to the Seattle Center in 2003. The Seattle Center says the festival “continues to preserve the celebration for new generations to explore and understand its meaning in depth. The celebration is full of color, sounds, scents of incense, and marigold flowers.”
Several Dia de los Muertos events are taking place in Oregon including in Lane County, Eugene and a race in Newport. Portland Center Stage’s Armory Theater is offering 20 minute visits by family “pods” of six to experience the art, food, altars and more there. The PCS event is co-hosted by Revolucion Coffee House.
Many experts on grief and dying have noted the many things we can learn from the holiday like how our relationships can endure and how grief has no timeline.
If you plan to celebrate this or another fall holiday in person, the CDC offers tips on doing so safely.
Photo by Sam Brand