Almost every year Larry and I attend the Dia de los Muertos celebration at Seattle Center, the site of the 1962 World’s Fair. The iconic Space Needle is no longer the tallest building in the city, as it was in 1962, but is still a landmark and visited by nearly 1.3 million people each year.
Some confuse the Mexican Dia de los Muertos with the U.S. custom of Halloween. A somewhat common mistake since the celebration traditionally starts at midnight the night of Oct. 31, and the festivities are abundant in images related to death. But unlike Halloween where death is something to be feared, Dia de los Muertos focuses on death (or at least the memories of those who have died) as something to be celebrated. Traditions connected with this holiday include constructing private altars honoring the deceased using marigolds, sugar skulls, photos and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed.
The festival at Seattle Center is always humming with children and adults painting sugar skulls, the making of marigolds from crape paper, music and traditional dancing and delicious pastries. This was the first time I saw chocolate skulls and when I asked about them learned they are slowly replacing sugar skulls. Apparently in some parts of Mexico, especially the southern area, sugar skulls are becoming harder to find. Guess we all have a taste for chocolate regardless of our ancestry.
While I was enjoying photographing the festivities Larry and our friend Carla were engaging in their own ways. I saw Carla painting a sugar skull and Larry visiting a special exhibit about the Pilchuck Glass School. I caught up with them later and Larry showed me a special exhibit hidden back in a corner…
Thanks for reading.
Nancy Cherry Eifert