Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Deadly Fun

In the 80's, Oingo Boingo told us, "It's a dead man's party who can ask for more.Everybody's coming leave your body at the door. Perhaps Oingo Boingo was was talking about Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead.) Speaking of the dead, I've been dead to the blogging world but like a good zombie, I'm never really gone forever. This weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the annual Dia De Los Muertos celebration in East Los Angeles. It's like a big block party where they block off the streets and vendors, artists, and the whole community gets together to party, Dia De los Muertos is a holiday that commemorates the dead loved ones that are not physically with us anymore. We celebrate death but not in a "I'm trying to cash in on the 72 virgins deal." It's more of an acknowledgment that we are mortal and should rejoice while we still can. It is also a time to remember loved ones and party with their spirits. I remember taking a "death and dying course" in college and we studied how we, in the West, act like Grim Reaper doesn't exist and worse yet, we fear death. (Except for Blue Oyster Cult who advocated that we NOT Fear the Reaper. Can you hear the cow bell? I can) Evidence of this apprehension can be found in the many euphemisms we use for death. In America a person does not die, they "pass away" like an eternal quarterback throwing to his/her celestial angels. In America, one "crosses over". Mexicans do this too but we call it "migration". Jan Brewer that joke is for you. Here people "go to meet their maker" like we are a mass produced widget. Dia De Los Muertos is a departure from that. People dress up like skeletons. There is imagery that reminds us our future home- that snug coffin. The emphasis is on the "now" on the living, while still remembering the dead. If any readers are ever in Los Angeles during the Halloween season, you have to visit E.L.A and attend a Day of the Dead celebration. I posted some videos of the event along with a picture of a couple we met at the event. I hope you can feel some of the jubilation I experienced at this event. While there, I began to reflect on all the people that have "passed away" (I do it too) such as family and friends and I had peace in knowing that it's all one. We are all one giant consciousness and the memories we have are eternal and will outlive us. The most vivid memory I have, and the one that left the biggest impression on me was this chubby Mexican guy who had a portrait of his grand parents. While, the band played, he kept raising his hands with the portrait of his dead grand parents, dancing while celebrating their lives. I guess life is like a song.

Dia De Los Muertos Art from East Los Angeles, CA

Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the dead) 2012 East L.A