On Saturday my fiancé and I were invited to a friend’s house to celebrate Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), a Mexican holiday that focuses on gatherings of family and friends to remember friends and family members who have died. I only found out what it meant after googling it, of course. As a European, I was very little to not at all exposed to Mexican culture so I didn’t really know what it was or what to expect. I was, however, super excited because I just love experiencing new cultures and traditions. And meeting new people is always a plus for me!
Although it may sound a little dark, it was actually a great celebration!! And the best way to remember someone who is gone, if you ask me. Well, at least the way we experienced it; I understand that tradition has it that you actually visit the graves of the departed, pray and bring gifts such as foods and beverages. Perhaps that is for family and those close to the family; we took part in the celebration at the house of the family that invited us. And what a great family they were!! As soon as we walked in people welcomed us with hugs and kisses and with such warmth that we thought for sure we must have met these people before and just did not remember.
As we walked through the door we were immersed into a whole different world: a world of color and flowers, colorful candles, paper banners, and beautifully painted skulls. There was also an altar dedicated to the my friend’s grandmother, endless supply of homemade tamales and…..mariachis! Yes, mariachis. The sisters went all out and did an amazing job at creating an authentic look & feel.
But my favorite part of the night was having my face sugar painted and playing a Mexican board game called loteria. The game was really a more fun and entertaining version of Bingo but using images on a deck of cards instead of plain numbers on ping pong balls. The cards were more similar (I thought) to Tarot cards than regular cards. Here are some of the cards: El diablito (The Little Devil), El catrín (The Dandy), La calavera (The skull), La muerte (The Death), El Sol (The Sun), La rana (The Frog), El borracho (The Drunk), etc. You get the idea.
All together, a really great time!! Definitely looking forward to doing it all over again next year!
Hasta el ano proximo, kids!