This evening I witnessed the stunning ‘tribal’ gathering and parade associated with ‘Dia de los Muertos’ or ‘the Day of the Dead’. Day of the Dead is traditionally a Mexican holiday celebrated in Mexico, but also around the world in other cultures through a gathering of people to pray and remember loved ones who have died. It is commonly celebrated in America due to the large Hispanic population. The intent of this is to encourage visits from the deceased souls, so that the souls will hear all the prayers and comments being directed to them. However the holiday takes on a humorous and joyful tone, as it becomes a celebration of their lives.
Dia de los Muertos
Missoula threw a fantastic party and parade this evening and it seems the WHOLE town turned up to partake. I was mistaken when I though there was no people in Missoula. People lined the street, children galore, all with their faces painted in the traditional Mexican style. Even the dogs all had little skeleton costumes on and were included in the festivities. The parade definitely felt like a celebration even if everybody donned skeletal attire, and it had a very warm vibe. Maybe those spirits were visiting everyone after all…
After the parade everyone migrated to Carass Park, which is at the end of town. It was like a tribal gathering in any other grass-roots community. It actually reminded me of being in the pacific islands – probably due to the tribal drumming. Drums beat loudly – a foot-stomping, hip shaking beat that you couldn’t resist but to move to. Fire dancers performed, and a HUGE gathering was in the heart of the park with people all taking turns performing dances (such as thriller by Michael Jackson) but not in a “performancy” way. The only way I can describe it is tribal. People merged and blended, old Joe Bloggs stood on the sideline and tapped his feet and clapped, and a great time was had by all.