What is El Dia de Los Metros (Day of the Dead)?
Although skull and skeleton imagery is depicted in Day of the Dead artwork “El Dia de Los Muertos,” is not about “night of the living dead” zombies or the Grateful Dead rock band.
The following is an excerpt from Peter Perez’s new “Viva Los Metros” Coloring Book. Peter, renowned for his Day of the Dead paintings and etchings, explains the traditional Mexican holiday as he advocates for it to become a national American holiday.
Grateful Dead poster
El DIa de Los Muertos, (The Day of the Dead ) is all about Family, Love, Respect, Tradition and Remembering those who have passed before us... keeping their stories and memories alive to pass on from generation to generation. This important cultural tradition has been celebrated for over 3000 years in Mexico, Central and South America and is a joyful celebration of life. It is celebrated on All Souls and All Saints Days, November 1st and 2nd. It is a gathering of family and friends an invitation to the deceased to return and join family and friends for in an evening of celebration. Altars, (Ofrendas) are created and decorated with photographs, food, drink, and the favorite things of the persons being honored.
Day of the Dead altars are an important part of the celebration because they show the way home.
Family photographs, keepsakes and favorite foods and drink are often found on altars.
The spirits are treated like invisible guests. In addition, there is arch of marigold flowers, representing a gate way to the other side, water to refresh the spirit, candles to light the way, salt, essential mineral, figurine pan de muertos, sweet bread of the dead, cinnamon, Copal incense and a trail of marigold petals to guide the spirits home.
Marigold flowers are traditional used to welcome the dead.
In the past 18 years, The Day of the Dead has evolved into a cross cultural and national Celebration of Life. We now see these images on products, food, wine labels, even lottery tickets. It is an invitation to all peoples to participate in this wonderful and joyful look at death. It is building bridges in communities across the nation. In the end, we all share the same destiny.
Santa Rosa Junior college decked out with Peter's colorful paper picador.
Peter Perez at Santa Rosa Community College where he organizes Day of the Dead celebrations with students.
Students work on a Day of the Dead mural that Peter designed.
To order Peter's NEW! Coloring Book: click here