Each year I learn more about the beautiful cultural tradition of Dia de los Muertos.
Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead, occurs on November 1 and 2.
A holiday steeped in tradition and culture originating thousands of years ago by the Aztecas.
It's when the living celebrate and honor those loved ones who have passed on.
A day rife with symbolism, Dia de los Muertos allows you to be creative and make something you and your family can build on year after year.
This year I was invited by Chevy to experience Dia de los Muertos in a new, beautiful and creative way. So let's get going!
The Chevy Silverado arrived just in time to start my day. On this day I was going to start to prepare my Dia de los Muertos altar. The altar is central to Dia de los Muertos. It's where you place your ofrenda (offering) to the loved ones you are celebrating.
For the Day of the Dead ofrenda (altar) you will need:
Marigolds, papel picado, glass of water, salt, food, pan de muerto bread, sugar skulls and clacas, candles, incense, photos and/or items of the person you're honoring.
I hopped in the Silverado and prepared to hit Downtown Los Angeles.
First stop: The Flower District for marigolds and baby's breath.
These flowers are part of Dia de los Muertos. Marigolds and their scent help direct our loved ones on their journey. Baby's breath can be used if children have passed on.
The bed of the pickup was so easy. Imagine my surprise when I had my hands full of flowers, I just clicked the innovative feature of the power-up/down tailgate button and the tailgate came down!
Now if you have ever been Downtown, you know that parking is limited and if there is metered parking, good luck squeezing in.
Now imagine you're in the Chevy Silverado. A beautiful, yet huge, truck so when I was lucky to find a prime spot in front of the Flower Mart, I thought, "great, how am I going to maneuver this beautiful beast back into the parking spot?"
Yes, most new vehicles come with back up cameras but the Chevy Silverado comes with 15 camera views. 15!! Sure the cameras are excellent for towing trailers, but this mama didn't care, I needed it to help me get into this parking spot!
I used the the surround view which provided a much needed bird's-eye of the truck and cars in front and in back of me.
The driver seat also vibrated on whichever side if I was getting close to something. It was as if it was saying, "ya mujer, scoot over or stop."
I wish it could have videotaped me parking because it was a thing of beauty. Smooth!
Once parked, a reminder on the display told me to check my back seat.
I didn't have infants in carseats in the back but if I did, this would be an amazing safety feature. Everyone thinks how could you forget littles ones in the back seat or that it would never happen to them. They wonder how one could forget a child in the back seat but, tragically, it does happen.
As a RN and mom of 4, I think this is a very thoughtful feature and kudos to an automotive brand trying to do their part in decreasing even one child from being hurt.
Leaving Downtown L.A in my rear view, I headed over the 1st street bridge.
Next up was checking out the iconic Self Help Graphics & Art.
From their website:
"Self Help Graphics & Art fosters the creation and advancement of new art works by Chicana/o and Latinx artists through experimental and innovative printmaking techniques and other visual art forms."
"...are an organization rooted in community; and since 1973, have been at the intersection of arts and social justice, providing a home that fosters the creativity and development of local artists. We establish international collaborations and partnerships nation-wide and create world-wide cultural exchanges."
Self Help Graphics & Art inspires youth and adults by supporting learning. They assist in building a solid foundation.
The classic Silverado frame and grill is part of the solid foundation of the ever recognizable Chevy icon. It adds to the tough allure of this truck.
Self Help Graphics & Art is known for its popular and free Annual Día de los Muertos celebration and many other culturally relevant events that draws over 10,000 people.
Chevy invited me to this experience at Self Help Graphics & Art. I attended a workshop that attracted folks of all levels to work in a variety of mediums as we prepared our Dia de los Muertos altars.
Beautiful and vibrant papel for paper flowers or papel picado.
Papel Picado on the altars symbolize wind and the fragility of life.
Kids enjoyed coloring the calaveras that could be used as masks. Masks are not meant to be scary but a form of connecting with the souls of our loved ones.
Outside was an area to create large calaveras.
Molded papier mache skulls were ready to be formed and decorated.
The finished products were stunning.
Dia de los Muertos is many things and has many components but what it is not is Mexican Halloween. Although it has skulls and bones, it is not anything to be afraid of. It's continuing the memory of loved ones in a beautiful way.
Once the calaveras were dried, we are able to place them securely into the truck bed.
I was worried about them being in the trunk with these big alloy wheels but the Silverado had good suspension that gave the truck a smooth ride. It's like they're laughing at any potholes on the street.
With the sun setting and my errands complete, I'm off home.
Tomorrow is a big day at Chiqui Social to bring all the ofrenda items I collected and made today and create the altar with my little friends.