For reasons that remain unclear, fascination with Mexicos Day of the Dead celebration has been building in the global zeitgeist. Its iconography of smiling skulls and animated skeletons are becoming increasingly ubiquitous in high fashion and trinket-culture alike.
But what really is the Day of The Dead? And how can someone truly experience and understand its beauty and its deeper meanings?
An amazing opportunity to do just this is now possible at an annual arts & culture festival called La Calaca ("The Skeleton"). Set in the heartstoppingly beautiful town of San Miguel de Allende in central Mexico, La Calaca provides, over four days (November 1-4), a guide and welcome setting for experiencing local, traditional celebrations of Day of the Dead as never before.
But more than merely a window into the traditional celebrations, La Calaca is a also deeply contemporary and collaborative event in which artists, performers and participants are invited to engage and explore through original works the traditions and themes intrinsic to Dia de Los Muertos: respect for the past, joy in the present, and honor for the universal cycles of death and rebirth.
Programming for the festival will take place at venues throughout the city over the four days, beginning on November 1, with a large interactive art exhibition in Parque Juarez for adults and children. During the day, lectures, workshops and guided tours of traditional altars, costumed processions and decorated cemeteries will be featured, along with installations and performances organized by local artists, non profits, and cultural institutions. In the evenings, visitors will experience the exquisite culinary options in San Miguel while the towns famously beautiful neo-Gothic cathedral is transformed into an Earth Harp the worlds largest stringed instruments over the colorful altars of the central square. Parties with music and performers of all sorts will culminate each evenings events.
The La Calaca Festival is extending an open invitation to all artists, performers and participants to all those who would like to come to San Miguel de Allende (a simple three-hour bus ride from Mexico City) to join in the joyful celebration and respectful exaltation that is Day of The Dead.