The week before el dia as I call it, I am frantically working on a special traje de gala, making sure all the hemming, embroidery, feathers and beadwork is in properly in place. I am shopping for flowers, fruit, ingredients for recipes and gathering supplies for my altar. Not altar.. say altaaarrrr. My compadre Rudy likes the word descanso, but I was brought up to use altaarr. For danzantes, we have a specific way we set up our altares, everything has significance and its proper place. Maybe it is that way as well for non-danzantes, but I know only our way – the way of my ancestors.
Ruiz goes on to describe her elaborate process as well as some of the symbolism that goes into constructing the altar. I’m not sure I can make one as elaborate as hers, but I’ll definitely be honoring my muertos (dead).
If you’re not already bogged down with plans for Halloween, you might want to check out some of the upcoming events celebrating the dead in/around LA:
Hollywood Forever Cemetery (October 27-28)
Self Help Graphics (November 2nd)
Olvera Street’s Muertos Festival and Viva el Amor Eterno art exhibition (November 2nd and October 28-November 26)
Central Library’s Puro Muerto exhibit (through March 4, 2007)
Baile de las Calaveras at the jFERRARI Gallery (October 21-November 1)