8th Annual El Panteón de Sacramento
Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead
Hope, Resistance y Amor
Hope, Resistance y Amor
Located at 2020 J STREET, SACRAMENTO, CA 95811. Parking lots located between J and K St / 20th and 21st St
OCTOBER 28 11AM – 10PM Saturday procession: 6PM
OCTOBER 29 8AM – 6PM Sunday Fashion show: 3PM
The Latino Center of Art and Culture presents the 8th Annual Panteón de Sacramento, a 48 hour two-day program celebrating Día de los Muertos on Saturday, October 28 and Sunday, October 31, 2017.
The Panteón de Sacramento (Sacramento's Cemetery) is an urban re-creation of Día de los Muertos that takes place in small village cemeteries throughout Mexico.
Día de los Muertos is a traditional Meso-American holiday dedicated to the ancestors; it honors both death and the cycle of life. In Mexico, neighbors gather in local graveyards to share food, music and fun with their families and extended community, both living and departed. In Sacramento, Día de los Muertos has been celebrated since the early 1970s, commensurate with the Latino Center of Art and Culture's (LCAC), formerly La Raza Galeria Posada (LRGP), founding in 1972.
This most personal of all Mexican holidays, Dia de los Muertos has become an international phenomenon in recent years, and acknowledges the belief that death is only another phase of life from which we both shrink from and celebrate. Whether in the day, or bathed in the light of the moon, upon entering Panteon de Sacramento one immediately feels that it is a place of memories and, the presence of those who have passed.
Dia de los Muertos is a very personal holiday and each family that celebrates it has their own unique traditions that they follow. It is a cathartic experience for the living as well as a time to honor and celebrate the lives of loved ones who have passed on to the afterlife. “The dead come to life in the memory of the living, who evoke their particular customs, tastes, virtues and defects (Orellana 1999:67).” Dia de los Muertos acquaints children to their ancestors as well as introduces the concept of death to children at an early age as a natural rite of passage. For adults it provides an opportunity for communal mourning. Emotions surrounding Dia de los Muertos can be somber as well as celebratory. It is a time to remember, honor and show respect to the departed. The colorful holiday serves as a reunion for the dead as well as the living.
LCAC will create a community altar for the public to place offerings. The public is invited to bring candles, photographs, bread, other foods, flowers, toys and other symbolic offerings for loved ones who have passed away.
Marigolds or Cempazuchitl are known as the “flowers of the dead” and the pungent scent of the flower welcome the dead home after their long journey. These bright yellow and orange flowers are traditionally used to decorate altars and to adorn graves. The flowers are used to make wreaths and the petals strewn about to create a pathway to help the dead find their way back to the homes of their relatives and loved ones.
Personal items of the deceased such pictures, eye glasses, books, a favorite object or instrument may also be placed upon the altar to make the spirits feel welcomed. A wash basin along with soap, water, comb, and a towel are also placed upon the altar so that the spirits can wash up after their long journey home. The personal items selected make each and every altar a unique expression of the person being honored.
Calacas are popular skeleton figurines that are often sold in markets to decorate altars. Calacas figurines are favorites among children. “These toys are both for the dead and living children to play with. However, living children become acquainted with death by playing with them (Pomar 1995:28).” A calaca may be selected that is reminiscent of a certain profession or hobby that was once enjoyed by the deceased. They can often be found crafted into silly caricatures of smiling wrestlers, nurses, musicians, brides, dentists, cowboys or pilots heartily enjoying the afterlife.
Sugar Skulls are one of the most popular symbols of El Día de los Muertos. Although, they are made of sugar they are typically not eaten. Sugar Skulls are brightly decorated with frosting, sequins and colored foil. In Mexico they can be purchased from street vendors or bakeries or simply made at home. Typically, the name of a deceased individual is placed on the forehead of the sugar skull.
Pan de Muerto
Traditional foods are made such as pan de muertos; sweet bread that is baked especially for the holiday. The dough of pan de muertos can be shaped to resemble skulls then topped with brightly colored sugar. It can also been seen shaped into mounds with “bones” made from extra dough that decorate the top. Other foods are also left on the altar such as fruits and sweets for the spirits to enjoy. Traditional dishes such as mole or tamales may especially be prepared. Extra food is also left on the altars in honor of forgotten souls.