What is Dia de los Muertos?
At the time of the Spanish conquest, the Catholic feast of All Saints Day (November 1st) was combined with the traditions and festivities that were long-time customs of the indigenous people. While traditions may have changed in different geographical locations, the religious (Catholic) tradition is that November 1st is All Saints Day and November 2nd is All Souls Day.
Our current Dia de los Muertos has evolved from these traditions. You may see people decorating an altar in their home with sugar skulls, flowers, candles and photos of those who have passed. When I lived in Santa Fe I found celebrants in the local Catholic cemetery where it is traditional to clean and decorate the graves of family members and then have a picnic.
Dia de los Muertos in Portland, Oregon
This tradition has made it as far north as Portland, Oregon. This weekend (Friday and Saturday) the restaurant, Mi Mero Mole is going all out for Day of the Dead.
Ofrenda & Decorations: Check out their Day of the Dead altar in the entryway. It has pictures of family members and even pets of employees that have been lost. There’s pan de muerto (day of the dead bread), fruit, Mexican folk art, sugar skulls and other decorated skulls, nichos, etc. They’ve also got special multi-colored Day of the Dead papel picado in both rooms along with skulls and skeletons everywhere.
Free Day of the Dead Face Painting: Saturday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., free for all ages.
Free Food: Anyone who comes in with their face painted for Day of the Dead — or gets their face painted — gets a free taco. Anyone who comes in full-costume, gets a free meal.
Santo Movies: Santo, the silver-masked luchador, Mexico’s Superman (or Buffy the Vampire Slayer), will be fighting vampires, zombies, and other supernatural baddies on screen all weekend.