“Dia De Los Muertos is one of Mexico’s traditional holidays reuniting and honoring beloved ancestors, family and friends. It is an ancient and enduring ritual when the living commune with the dead – a mystical night when the veil is lifted between their two realms and they may share a day together” (Source: https://www.ladayofthedead.com/history/)
Deep in the heart of Hollywood, lies the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. It is said that Hollywood Forever Cemetery is the final resting place to more of Hollywood’s founders and stars than anywhere else on earth. On October 27th, 2018 – the people from all over, came to celebrate the 19th annual Dia de los Muertos…the largest Dia de los Muertos celebration, outside of Mexico.
With 4 stages, and over 40 performers scheduled, along with over 100 altars and booths on display, I came to view the outstanding visuals created by some local Hair and Makeup Artists. With probably close to a dozen booths devoted to face painting, the busiest booth, which hosted some of the best makeup artistry, was the booth by The HMUA Studio (www.instagram.com/thehmuastudio/) I spent a good 30 minutes talking to MUA Ruben Lopez, as he applied airbrushed makeup onto model Albert Ramirez (https://www.instagram.com/route66trade/)
This was my first time attending this event. I was very impressed by the amount of work that was put into the 100+ altars. More than the visual aspect was the devotions to the loved ones whom have passed. The altars were decorated with the traditional Marigold flowers, sugar skulls, incense, etc., but the personal touches brings finality. A Coke bottle, a Corona bottle, sweet breads, pictures, toys, and jewelry were frequently used to make these altars personal.
As I walked around and watched how families had gathered, smelling the flowers and incense, I reflected on how most cultures deal with our dead. Americans do not invite their deceased loved ones to come back and celebrate a night among family again.
As I wandered altar to altar, I enjoyed the family pictures. I was drawn to one altar, which was devoted to a man whom obviously loved gardening. There were ribbons with clips, so that anyone could hang a picture of a loved one. From a distance, one picture looked too familiar. It was a picture of my mother, who had passed in 2008. My mind was clambering to gasp why her picture was here, when I heard my name. This altar was built by my cousin, in honor or his neighbor who passed away 7 years ago. He had pictures of all his family and friends whom have deceased.
The Los Angeles Dia de los Muertos event at Hollywood Forever Cemetery is something that should not be missed! You never know whom you might find there!