Saturday, November 1, 2008

El Dia de los Muertos

Hollywood, California
Today is the Day of the Dead, a Mexican holiday honoring one's deceased friends and family. Hollywood Forever Cemetery hosts its 9th annual Dia de los Muertos this year. If you're in the Los Angeles area, I highly recommend checking it out. These are some photos from last year's celebration.

There is a line of people waiting outside the cemetery gates. This little girl can't contain her excitement!

I felt so underdressed.

Altars decorate the side of the road. They usually have photos of the deceased...

...and food, as well as drink and sometimes even cigarettes. Reminds me of the Egyptian burial custom of including all that the dead loved in life so they can use it in their next one.

These altars are all creative...

and beautiful like this homage to Frida Kahlo, one of my favorite artists.

Some are political...

or hi-tech, like this one honoring our fallen troops,

or flamboyant

or funny.

Calaveras, or skulls, are everywhere.

Even Johnny Ramone got in the act!

One of the highlights of the day was a terrifying and beautiful dance performance. I wish I knew the name of this group.

The Day of the Dead is thought to have it's beginnings during Aztec times (although some say it was celebrated even earlier). After watching this dance I can see why they were great warriors. I can only imagine the terror of being held captive while dancers decked out in skulls spin around and stomp their feet. Add a full moon and it sounds like something from a horror movie.

And with that it's time to go...


  1. Your pictures make me want to see the real thing. Well done!

  2. You've been hanging out at cemetaries a lot lately. Should I be worried?

    All the shots are beautiful!

  3. I was just telling Michael that I have back to back blog posts with cemetery photos which times out well for Halloween. I love graveyards - there's so much art that goes unnoticed there. And I love reading epitaphs. My favorite is Jack Lemmon's which simply says "IN."