05 November 2007

Day of the Dead

This past weekend I attended an even organized by the Mexican Consulate at Harbourfront Centre here in Toronto. It was a celebration of the Day of the Dead, which mainly consisted of an exposition of Altars or Ofrendas crafted by different cultural groups and artistic collectives both Canadian and Mexican, and probably Mexican-Canadian. Guatemalan traditions are somewhat different than Mexican ones, and LAGDP has some good postings about Guatemalan traditions for Nov. 1st such as the typical dish called fiambre and kite flying, thus I went to this event with an "outsider" perspective.

I was also on a tourist guide role since it was the first time downtown for a visiting scholar from Italy we have in our psychology lab at YorkU. So we went inside the centre before realizing the event wasn't held outside, which would've been OK since the day was gorgeous. However, you never know in November. It is starting to get cold, but sunny days are still a blessing. I took some pictures of the altars which I share below on a slideshow. If for some reason you cannot make it work you can check my Picasa folder where I have the photos.

I loved the colourful displays and the thought behind them. You find traditional symbols of death, like skulls and coffins, but also all sorts of foods and personal belongings. My particular favourite was one such altar dedicated to Frida Kahlo created by a local High School, which had mosaics made of seeds and grains (corn, beans, lentils, etc.) and several mini-portraits of the most famous Mexican painter. There was also a crafts and jewelry bazaar and a couple of concerts. We listened to a jazz trio which was very talented, but I think it was not everyone's cup of tea, as it was pure jazz. Probably not what you were expecting from Mexico. As the director of the trio, Eugenio Toussaint, said: "No mariachi jazz here".

Unfortunately when we got to the food pretty much everything was gone, but some tacos de chicharrón. We ate with a traditional Norteño band as background music that had one of the halls in the centre packed and dancing around. It was a fun day and a cross cultural experience for all of us. Just one of the many faces of the city I love and I live in.



5 comments:

Mauricio Romero said...

From the pictures I Agree with what I liked most, I guess it must be a good experience since really Mexico's Day of the Dead differs from Guatemala.

I guess you forgot to leave water on your entrance for the "Animas of the Dead".

PD: I'm glad you are feeling better from your cold, I just saw your facebook status now.

Laura said...

You know, I am constantly amazed by all of the different things this city has going on. Sounds like it was a lot of fun, and interesting too.

Manolo said...

@Mauricio: thanks for the wishes... the weather is changing and it sucks! Yes I did forget, actually I didn't even know I had to...

@Laura: I (heart) T.O. :-) no... really...

CarmenDeBizet said...

Este post me hizo recordar. De chiquita se asumia que yo habia nacido en Mexico y aunque se que la comunidad mexicana era la mayoria donde creci, a mi siempre me parecio que a los maestros se les hacia mas facil/comodo clasificar a todos los estudiantes bajo una misma nacionalidad. Viendole el lado amable, si celebrabamos el Dia de los Muertos y leiamos libros en Spanglish y al final de todo esto, los maestros pedian que los que tuvieran dulces que compartieran con la clase. Ahi fue cuando probe una calaca bien dulce, nunca las habia visto/probado antes. Les agradezco a estos maestros que aunque sea tomaban en cuenta a la mayoria (habian algunos que no e insistian en su hegemonia), pero fueron contados los maestros que tomaban en cuenta la herencia de cada uno, pero yo si tuve de esos maestros. Al principio del anio escolar nos hacian llenar un "feedback form" y usaban eso para guiarse mejor. No eran de la vieja escuela y yo guarde su ejemplo para uso futuro cuando me converti en maestra. Cuando llegaba el final de octubre, les preguntaba a mis chiquitos que hacian para celebrar el 31 de octubre o el 1ero de noviembre y apuntaba sus respuestas en un cartel grande. Al compartir, aprendia yo y aprendian ellos.
Disculpa, ya escribi bastante, pero suelo hacerlo, aparte que tu 'post' me hizo recordar. ^_^

Manolo said...

Recordar es pasar por el corazón de nuevo... re-cordare...