One of the many advantages of living in LA is how close we are to Mexico. Some of you may laugh at this comment, or remember that night you got trashed in Tijuana (as I’m sure most of us have). What I’m talking about, however, are the cultural benefits, like going down to Olvera Street to check out the Day of the Dead festivities taking place this weekend. Day of the Dead is a ceremony that traditionally takes place on the November 2, although it is often celebrated for an entire week. On these days the people of Mexico bake breads and make sugar skulls to honor the dead. They also clean their loved ones graves and make altars to honor them. I went to Olvera st. last year, and it was a blast (although a very somber one). You can go check out live music and dancing, storytelling, and a candle lit procession after dark. You can even make your own sugar skulls (it’s a workshop mainly for kids, but last year I made some bitchin skulls). This celebration is going on now through Sunday and is not to be missed.
Other Day of the Dead celebrations around the city include the celebration at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. It’s tomorrow (Sat) from 4 to 11pm and will feature altars, music, dancing, vendors (a great way to get cool Christmas gifts), food, and other fun stuff. Or you could go check out the fun at Self Help Graphics and Art’s fest, which features much of the same, but focuses on Latino and Latina artists in the East LA area, and also has face painting, a total plus.
Whichever you choose, I think everyone should get a taste of these festivals. They’re fun, free, and they’ll give you your culture fix, too.