Tuesday, October 30, 2012

PRESCOTT'S DAY OF THE DEAD CELEBRATION

Since I haven't blogged in like, for-EV-er, this is going to be rather long. But don't freak out and think you'll have to read a lot, because it's mostly pictures. You should know, with Halloween fastly approaching, the reason I haven't blogged much lately is because I've been participating in all the local Halloweeny stuff that Prescott, AZ has to offer. One of the coolest things I had the opportunity to attend was Prescott's very own Dia de los Muertos celebration!
Part of the procession to the cemetery
The Smoki Museum hosted an entire day's worth of Day of the Dead festivities, beginning with a parade led by a mariachi band to the Citizen's Cemetery
"Juan" singing his family song.
At the cemetery we listened to Juan Moreno (acted out by his descendant, Mike Shepard) tell the story of how Juan left Mexico in 1919 and walked to Prescott seeking a better life for his family. He died 9 years later of black lung at the age of 72. But he was still glad he made the trip because now he's famous for not dying from snake bite or dehydration.  
Grave Dancers
Dancers celebrated his life by dancing around his grave, which I felt was kinda creepy. Then we all headed back to the Smoki Museum to view the altars and eat traditional Mexican food like barbeque and Diet Coke. 
A traditional Dia de los Muertos altar
Here is one of the altars on exhibit. Check out the skull cake front and center, along with the pictures of the diseased and their favorite flowers, food and cerveza (with lime). Apparently the ghost of one of these gals has been sampling the cheekbone of that skull cake.
Blitzen apparently got into some bad nip.
Basically, I discovered there are no rules for Dia de los Muertos altar-building. Celebrants didn't seem too picky. If it died, it could have an altar. There was even this altar for the family cat. Blitzen.
Not sure how the Pope would feel about this one.
Apparently you didn't even have to know someone personally to make an altar for them. Next year Michael Jackson is definitely on my list.
"Bennys" educational altar
This altar went to great lengths to educate the gringos about the different symbols for the Day of the Dead, which I found extremely helpful, not only with my Dia de los Muertos education, but also my Spanish.

My diet seems to be working.
I learned a lot and had a great time at Prescott's very own Dia de los Muertos celebration. As a result, I have a whole new appreciation for "sharing" this world with those who choose to visit on November 1st. And if I do make a trip to the Citizen's Cemetery on that day, I'll bring a gift. You never know who . . . or what you might see in Prescott, AZ.  
Citizen of the Citizen's Cemetery. 

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