THIS WEEKEND: Dia de los Muertos

October 29, 2008 by
Filed under: Williamsburg 

With all the fuss over Halloween I was pleased to learn that Elote will be celebrating the fabulous holiday also known as the Day of The Dead in grand style with $3.00 shots, $4.00 margaritas (!) and a costume contest!

What’s more, the bearer of the winning costume* gets a free bottle of tequila!

For those of you who are not in the know, here’s what Wikipedia has to say about this very popular Latin American holiday:

The Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos in Spanish) is a holiday celebrated mainly in Mexico and by people of Mexican heritage (and others) living in the United States and Canada. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and relatives who have died. The celebration occurs on the 1st and 2nd of November, in connection with the Catholic holy days of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day which take place on those days. Traditions include building private altars honoring the deceased, using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed, and visiting graves with these as gifts. Observance of the holiday in Mexican-American communities in the United States has become more important and widespread as the community grows numerically and economically.

Scholars trace the origins of the modern holiday to indigenous observances dating back thousands of years, and to an Aztec festival dedicated to a goddess called Mictecacihuatl (known in English as “The Lady of the Dead”)…

Many people believe that during the Day of the Dead, it is easier for the souls of the departed to visit the living. People will go to cemeteries to communicate with the souls of the departed, and will build private altars, containing the favorite foods and beverages, and photos and memorabilia, of the departed. The intent is to encourage visits by the souls, so that the souls will hear the prayers and the comments of the living directed to them. Celebrations can take a humorous tone, as celebrants remember funny events and anecdotes about the departed.

Plans for the festival are made throughout the year, including gathering the goods to be offered to the dead. During the period of November 1 and November 2, families usually clean and decorate graves; most visit the cemeteries where their loved ones are buried and decorate their graves with ofrendas, or offerings, which often include orange marigolds called “cempasúchitl” (originally named cempoalxochitl, Nahuatl for “twenty (i.e., many) flowers”). In modern Mexico this name is often replaced with the term “Flor de Muerto” (“Flower of the Dead”). These flowers are thought to attract souls of the dead to the offerings.

For the rest of us who are very much among the living, here are the deets regarding Elote’s upcoming event.

Day of the Dead Party
November 1, 2008, 10:00 p.m. – 4:00 a.m.
366 Union Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11211

Miss Heather

*An undead Sarah Palin would be nice!


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