This past Saturday, from 9-noon, it was “party time” at Mt. View Cemetery.
Nothing disrespectful, here—instead it was a “matter of fact” glimpse of a traditional Mexican “memorial” day, “Dia de Los Muertos” according to Kevin Wolfe, general manager of the Lakewood-area cemetery.
Wolfe explained that the los muertos commemoration is part of an on-going series of events held there to acquaint the community with different cultures’ funeral customs. This year’s Dia de los muertos was the second one held at Mt. Tacoma.
Besides an opportunity to view altars (not much different, actually, than viewing King Tut’s tomb filled with jewelry, canopic jars, and furniture) decorated with personal mementoes such as flowers, water, candles and more, as well as an opportunity to decorate sugar skulls and enjoy mariachi music, the morning’s event was held as a way to show these folk traditions that have been practiced long before Christianity came to Mexico.
A more detailed description of the custom can be found by searching http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
One of the celebrant’s contacted a relative via cell phone in Jalisco so he could enjoy the music, as well, during the celebration. Familiar melodies such as “Celito Lindo,” “Guadalajara,”—even “Blue Spanish Eyes” filled the hall.
Mariachi music originated in Jalisco in the 16th century. The lively music inspired at least one couple to kick up their heels and dance a few steps.
Dias de los muertos, explained one of the dancers, is the time of year when families visit relatives who have passed away.
“We take picnics and flowers (primarily marigolds) to the cemetery. We even camp there overnight.
“It’s a happy time…not sad.”
Dia de los Muertos is celebrated from Oct. 31-Nov. 2.