We have a number of special touches coming together to celebrate Dia de los Muertos Thursday and Friday of this week. Our good friend Jose Ruiz came by recently and painted two stunning skulls on the windows that flank our front door. Our staff has been bringing in photos and other mementos of loved ones who have passed away this week – today we will be building an altar on the patio with these items.
Jose runs Casa Latina, a panaderia and cafe on San Pablo – one of their specialties is Pan de Muertos, a special sweet egg bread adorned with “bones” on the top baked for Dia de los Muertos. We will be sending everyone home with a piece of Pan de Muerto tonight and tomorrow night. We will also be adding other decorations throughout the restaurant, including marigolds and sugar skulls. We are quickly learning that Jose is a man of many talents – on Friday he will be DJing starting at 8pm in what is becoming a regular occurrence at this point. This week he will be playing songs that nod to the theme of death in one way or another.
Dia de los Muertos strikes me as a very different kind of holiday than any “American” holidays. While there are spiritual aspects to Thanksgiving and Christmas, much of the original intent of both holidays (especially Christmas) has been lost. While there is a colorful, festive aspect to Dia de los Muertos, at its essence it is a deeply intimate and personal event that speaks to the close connection to the spiritual world that is still alive and well in Mexican culture. The altars are constructed to encourage visits by the souls of those departed, so that they might hear prayers and other remembrances.
We look forward to seeing many of you over the next couple nights as we mark this special occasion!