Friday, November 02, 2007
Dias de los Muertos
I decided not to go to the party. As much as I'd like to imagine myself a social butterfly, I'm just not.
So instead, I took Ruth's advice and have peppered the last two days with Day of the Dead activities :-)
I started my Dias de los Muertos celebration by visiting the Days of the Dead exhibit at the Wake Forest Museum of Anthropology. It was a small show, but a good little introduction to the traditions of the holiday. My second stop was a grocery store in Winston-Salem's "Little Mexico" neighbourhood. Ruth and I discovered it a few years ago when she was here visiting. It's fun to go with her because she speaks Spanish and can read all the labels to me :-) Yesterday though, I had a mission, so no need for a label translator - I was shopping for Bread of the Dead and sugar skulls. There is a little bakery at the back of the grocery store, but surprisingly, they were not making Pan de Muerto. I ended up getting a packaged one (not unlike a packaged doughnut). The shape was right though - a round loaf with strips of dough rolled out and attached to resemble bones. I also picked up a yummy coconut juice and a little plate of diced papaya sprinkled with chili powder.
Today I think was more of a success. The little coffee house /gallery space /commune /performance spot where Mary Ann had her portraits show a few weeks ago is also celebrating Dias de los Muertos this week. They had a traditional alter set up on their covered patio and were inviting people to bring photos of loved ones to place on it. Last night I searched unsuccessfully for the one photo I have of my friend Catherine who died in December 2000. I must find that photo, but for today its disappearance was a bit of a blessing. I sat down and drew a little picture instead. Catherine in the middle with all the things she loved in a circle around her... Her dog Nicholas, her well-used library card, her cigarettes, The Joy of Cooking, her flower garden, wind chimes. Drawing that little illustration made me slow down and really remember my friend and what a dear soul she was. I went to Krankies late this afternoon, tucked Catherine's picture under some Marigolds on the alter and sat in the coffee shop to enjoy a Mexican hot chocolate in her honour.