Monday, November 7, 2011

Dia de los muertes/day of the dead

The Bay Area has a huge Latino community and I finally got to attend the Dia de los Muertos street festival that's held here annually. It was actually a couple of days early, as the traditional days of celebration are November 1st and 2nd. I've done just a little reading, and it seems like the 1st is all souls day and/or the day to remember dead infants and children; the 2nd is to remember adults who have died.
Families and loved ones make memorial altars and artwork. Much of what we saw were elaborate works made from seeds, flowers, candles, and chalk.
I thought it was super cool that a Girl Scout troop did a memorial for the founder of the Girl Scouts - someone even demonstrated how to cut the Girl Scout logo into the decorative tissue paper!
Even though it's a day of remembrance, if there's an element of sadness it must be saved for when the tourists go home - I saw tons of families, and people dancing and eating and socializing. I had some pretty awesome food, too! The most interesting thing was the pan de muertos helados: ice cream made with some of the bread of the dead, which looked like an eggy sweet loaf kind of like Jewish challah and Portuguese massa. My ice cream was mostly vanilla, perhaps a bit custardy, with bread crumbs in it. Kind of weird, but definitely delicious!

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