The Día de los Muertos or Day of the Dead celebration is a Mexican tradition that has gradually been adopted by the United States, not only for its colors and flavors, but also for its economic impact.
Honoring the dead is one of the most ancient traditions in Mexico, dating back over 5,000 years, and its history, colorful artistic displays and food are making it increasingly popular around the world.
In Mexico City, the 2013 Day of the Dead celebrations is expected to bring earnings of over $20.4 million dollars. The city’s Office of Tourism expects over 60,000 visitors in the next few days. They also expect almost 1.5 million excursionists who will occupy over 60% of hotels in Mexico City on the nights of November1st and 2nd.
In the US, most of the Día de los Muertos celebrations take place, of course, in California, due to its large Mexican population. Michigan, however, is catching up this year in its number of Day of the Dead events and activities to join in this Mexican celebration.
On October 24th, there was a Día de los Muertos Mexican Fiesta Dinner, organized by the students at Oakland Community College Culinary Studies Institute at the Farmington Hills Campus. For $50 guests enjoyed a Dia de los Muertos themed five-course dinner.
The Detroit Institute of Arts is presenting its “Artist Demonstration: Ofrenda Altars in Rivera Central Galleries”, an exhibition of Día de los Muertos with 10 displays by local artists, including themed works by former Sandwich Secondary students from Ontario, Canada. This special exhibit will be on display between October 25th and November 3rd, 2013. The Sandwich Secondary project, conducted by Sandwich Visual Art teacher Sanja Srdanov, includes lavishly decorated skulls and Mexican-style altars ornamented with traditional “papel picado” (cut paper) and orange colored cempasúchil flowers.
Macomb Community College, in collaboration with the Consulate of Mexico in Detroit, will set up Día de los Muertos exhibits, with altars and special foods. The event, which will take place from October 30th to November 3rd at the Lorenzo Cultural Center of MCC will include films, special presentations, an exhibit of historical photographs from 1905 to 1940, and an altar-making workshop
Besides special menus in some restaurants, shrines, candles, and altars all around Southwest Detroit, Mexican Town Fiesta Center on Vernor Highway in Detroit will present exhibits, lectures, videos and the recreation of a Mexican style cemetery or “panteón”, with graves where visitors will be able to place names on tombstones to remember their deceased loved ones back in Mexico.
On Saturday, November 2nd, there will be a race in Detroit known as the Run of the Dead. This race begins at the Patton Park Recreation Center at 9 am, and goes through appropriately historical places such as the old and historic Holy Cross and Woodmere cemeteries.
On Sunday, November 3rd, there will be another Día de los Muertos 5K Run/Walk and Kids Fun Run race originating at the YMCA in Muskegon beginning at 9 am. This event will include kids face painting, awards for the best costumes, and Day of the Dead treats at the end of the race.
The Día de los Muertos Community Altar Celebration will be held at the Grand Rapids Public Library in Grand Rapids, MI, from October 31st to November 3rd. Activities will include setting up typical Mexican style altars to the dead, face painting, and sugar skull decorating.
“Viva la Vida!” Día de Muertos Festival is the title of the huge 2013 Day of the Dead festivities in Holland, MI, to be held at different locations such as Washington Square, Holland Museum, Holland Armory, and the Herrick District Library. Holland activities will include workshops on how to set up an offering to the dead, relief printmaking workshop (to honor world renowned Mexican carver José Guadalupe Posada´s collection of skull and skeleton engravings), and storytelling on November 2nd.
Mexico´s Day of the Dead is gathering importance, and is now celebrated not only in Mexico and the US, but also in Peru, Australia and the United Kingdom.