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Dave Sperling | profile | all galleries >> Dia de los Muertos Festival tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Dia de los Muertos Festival

November 1-2, 2003, in the place of my birth: Canoga Park, California.

Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is one of Mexico's traditional holidays reuniting and honoring beloved ancestors, family and friends by creating an altar in their memory.

The historical roots of this celebration date back to Pre-Columbian civilizations in the indigenous ceremonies of the Aztecs, Mayans, Tolecas and others native to Mexico for more than 3,000 years. Our ancestors believed that in dying a human being could truly become awake. By making the journey from life to death the soul is set free. When Christianity was introduced to the new world in the 16th century this religion and its symbols became part of this ancient ceremony. The celebration begins November 1st, All Saints Day, when it is believed the spirits of the children "Los Angelitos" return to visit. The following morning November 2nd, All Souls Day, the adult spirits return to their families.

Traditionally, it is a time when family members share memorable stories to commemorate their lives together. A special alter is made and adorned with pictures, flowers, personal belongings and the favorite foods of the deceased.

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