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Preview: Day of the Dead August 31, 2008

Posted by ourfriendben in recipes, Uncategorized, wit and wisdom.
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Our friend Ben and Silence Dogood love the handmade pottery of Mata Ortiz, a small village in Northern Mexico that produces very thin-walled, beautifully ornamented ollas (pots). So we signed up to get e-mail from a gallery called Inside Mexico that gets some wonderful Mata Ortiz pottery for us to drool over, at least virtually. We were thrilled and delighted to receive an e-mail yesterday announcing that they’d opened up a new Day of the Dead Folk Art Gallery that we could also visit online (www.ddfolkart.com/). Wow.

The gallery offers ceramics, wood carvings, and papier mache figures of humorous, colorful, highly ornamented skulls and skeletons. Uh, say what?! Well, the Day—actually Days, since they fall on November 1st and 2nd of each year—of the Dead, Los Dias de Muertos, is the Mexican equivalent of Hallowe’en and All Saints Day combined. It’s a two-day celebration of one’s deceased ancestors, a feast with special Day of the Dead dishes, a costumed carnival, and an opportunity to acknowledge our mortality in a gently humorous way. It’s a joyous, childlike, imaginative way to defuse the fear of death and, at the same time, remind us of the value of life.

Our friend Ben decided to post about this now, since the gallery’s amazing offerings are going fast. We think you all should at least have a chance to check them out, especially if you’re Hallowe’en fanatics like our friend Edith Eddleman or Joy of GardenJoy4Me (http://gardenjoy4.blogspot.com/). Curmudgeon, of the redoubtable Weed Whackin’ Wenches, we think you might enjoy them, too (http://www.weedwhackinwenches.blogspot.com/). Our favorites are a fire skull by Day of the Dead master artist Alfonso Castillo and a papier-mache guitar-playing skeleton by the Linares family, but Senor Castillo’s monarch-butterfly-encrusted skull is quite amazing, too.

If you’d like to learn more about the Day(s) of the Dead, the site also offers some excellent free articles and two DVDs (also available as videos). Our friend Ben and Silence think it’s a sign of wisdom to celebrate being alive while acknowledging our ultimate demise, as opposed to pretending like we’ll never die and acting accordingly. And we think that every day should be a “Day of the Dead” in terms of offering prayers for and enjoying memories of our own beloved dead, be they pets or people. We’re thinking about adding that guitar-playing skeleton to our Mexican Night decor. And we’d love to hear from you if you have recipes or Day of the Dead traditions of your own to share!

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1. jim - September 1, 2008

For some great examples of Mata Ortiz pottery, go to this website…

Mataortizart.com

Will do, Jim, thanks!


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