For the past three years, my friends and I head over to Downtown San Jose for the Día San Jose festival, in celebration of Día de Los Muertos. I get to paint my friend’s faces for the festival, enjoy good company and admired the alters people have built to remember their loved one that have passed on. I am half Mexican but it wasn’t traditional growing up celebrating Día de Los Muertos. I learned about the meaning behind this celebration in school. My school was bilingual so we were taught everything in Spanish. They encouraged us to learn about the traditions and celebrations from Mexico, Central, and South America.
The history behind Día de Los Muertos
Día de Los Muertos—the Day of the Dead—is celebrated on November 1. Throughout Latin America, Día de Los Muertos is most celebrated in Mexico, where the tradition originated. The most familiar symbol of Día de Los Muertos with calaveras (skulls), which appear everywhere during the holiday: in candied sweets, as parade masks, as dolls. Calaveras are portrayed enjoying life, often in fancy clothes and entertaining situations. Altars are decorated with flowers, candles, pan de muerto, ceramic skulls, and most importantly pictures of loved ones. Food placed on the altar consists of the loved ones favorite dishes and treats. Drinks are be placed in the altar to quench the thirst of the dead after their long journey back home.
How I Celebrate
Part of life is death and as I get older, I’m dealing with the loss of loved ones. Most recent was my Grandma on my Dad’s side. After seeing Disney Pixar’s “Coco” I really wanted to start embracing this celebration that my Mexican heritage has been doing for years! For the past few years, I have attended different Día de Los Muertos celebrations, from here in the Bay Area to San Diego. By showing pride in my heritage and keeping traditions alive, is how I celebrate.
I love the tradition of face painting, the haunting beauty always drew me in, which is why I always paint my face for the celebration. I was approached by Shannon who is a Bay Area photographer, when she saw on my Instagram stories that in was brainstorming some looks for Dia de Los Muertos and we decided to shoot the look together.
On my youtube channel, I uploaded a step by step tutorial look on how to create this look
Photos by Shannon Alyse Photo