Día de Los Muertos: To life!

by Minji Kim

The Day of the Dead, a traditional Latin American celebration on November 2, brought lively bursts of color and mariachi music to the usually quiet Peabody Museum. Hundreds of people, many in costumes, filled the entire third floor chatting, eating, and dancing. Nearly every corner of the gallery exploded with brilliant rainbows of streamers and painted skulls. An Oaxacan father-son duo sat in one corner, whittling wood and selling exquisite sculptures. The central altar, decorated and set up by Harvard Divinity School ThD candidate Maria Cristina Vlassidis, gave double homage to César Chávez and the thirty-three Chilean miners who were rescued. Vlassidis, who is also a Teaching Fellow for the Moctezuma's Mexico: Then and Now course (which decides the festivities' theme each year), told me that although the Day of the Dead usually commemorates the deceased, this fall's class decided to celebrate life and make 'esperanza' (hope) a central focus, while also shedding light on the miners' working conditions. Food, drinks (even Aztec chocolate!), music, and cheery skeletons galore, the photos below follow the preparation process from the day before up to the fiesta day. [http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=71649]