Sunday, September 30, 2007

Día de los Muertos at Disneyland

As part of its 2nd annual HalloweenTime promotion, Disneyland debuted a cool little section of the park devoted to Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. Since the Disneyland Imagineers summarized the celebration so well on a placard describing the events, I'm simply re-posting their description along with some of the pictures we took.

Disneyland's Día de los Muertos section. (09/30/07)
Disneyland's Día de los Muertos section. (09/30/07)

"Día de los Muertos" (the Spanish phrase for "Day of the Dead") is observed each year upon All Saints' Day (November 1) and All Souls' Day (November 2). Stemming back to the days of the Aztecs, the holiday is a festive occasion that honors those who have passed away while also celebrating the continuation of life.

A cool Day of the Dead altar. (09/30/07)
A cool Day of the Dead altar. (09/30/07)

Those who celebrate this holiday embrace the belief that death is not the end of our connection with others. Love goes beyond the grave. In Latin American cultures, and among many cultures around the world, the annual celebration brings communities together to honor both the living and the dead.

Do you see Mickey in there? (09/30/07)
Do you see Mickey in there? (09/30/07)

With an emphasis on joy rather than sadness, "Día de los Muertos" comes alive with vibrant colors that are iconic to the celebration. Traditions include displaying "calacas" (skeleton figurines) dressed in festive attire, decorating cemeteries and gravesites with orange marigolds, yellow chrysanthemums, and fuchsia cockscombs, and adorning altars with candles, flowers, fruit, bread, photographs, and treasured belongings.

A "calacas" band. (09/30/07)
A "calacas" band. (09/30/07)

Delicate "papel picado" (paper cutouts) are often draped throughout the streets, and special food is prepared to welcome back the souls of ancestors and loved ones for a day of remembrance.

Love the colors. (09/30/07)
Love the colors. (09/30/07)

Though this holiday comes near the traditional time of Halloween, "Día de los Muertos" is an entirely different celebration. For those who honor it, the celebration is an important social and spiritual time which recognizes the cycle of life and death that connects every human being.


Click here to see what James and Tim did for Day of the Dead last year.

1 comment:

Tom said...

How cool!! I had no idea Disney did stuff like that...and aside from the subliminal branding of the Mickey head, they really kept the crass Disneyfication to a minimum. How shocking!

But all in all, a very cool exhibit, liked what they wrote too!