Happy Accidents

I spend a great deal of time when I am in Los Angeles scouring the newspaper,  the local indie rags and various web sites to find new and interesting things to do during the week.  I like to think I am auditioning the city.  Today I had a few hours to spend after a delightful breakfast with the lovely Christine, in from Toronto.  I thought about wandering along Melrose but for some reason I decided to set my sights to the east and went to visit the Hollywood Forever cemetery on Santa Monica Blvd.  I have been there once before to check out the crypts of Douglas Fairbanks and the like but my camera battery died so there were no pictures to be taken.  What I did NOT realize was that the Hollywood Forever cemetery plays host to the annual Dia de los Muertos Festival.  Los Angeles has an enormous Latino population (in fact, they are the majority in the under 18 age category) and this day is a special one for their culture.  I arrived right at the beginning of the festivities, wandered in and found a playground of art and altars and food and families.

There were the most amazing art exhibits – altars dedicated to specific family members who had passed on.

There was some remarkable (and saucy) art

There were dancers with shells around their ankles that rattled like bones when they moved with exquisite headdresses

There were whole families turned out as the dead

Some of the costumes were just incredible

And the air was … festive.  Everyone seemed truly overjoyed to be involved.  There was music and cooking and dancing and singing.  There was also a great deal of tequila on the ready, so who knows what transpired once the sun went down.

A day with the dead.  I didn’t know it could be so lively.

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