Alex Hughes November 4, 2017… Ofrendas are offerings to loved ones that have passed. They are paired with altars devoted to the lives of these family members. All of this in celebration of Dia de los Muertos! An event that is more in honor of life than that of mourning death. At the Mission San Luis Rey in Oceanside, this was quite apparent with the amount of different activities going on at once from the classic cars of Por Siempre to the booths selling sugar skulls and jewelry. All with the theme of skeletons and skulls in bright loud colors. I came along with a large crowd of people and cars jamming in on the centuries old church. The first thing that struck me was the line of cars: shined up and decorated with pictures of family and friends that had passed away. It was displayed in a creative way with trunks propped up filled with food and flowers awaiting the nightly visit of spirits. They also managed to incorporate elements of Halloween in a slightly spooky way. However, cars could not take the place of the many families that had set up their own large altars in the field.
I passed by many with marigolds brightening up the images that had been taken long ago as well as tamales that had been freshly made. I found fresh pan de muerto, Coca-Cola bottles, sugar candies in the shape of Mexican dishes, crosses and much more. A testament to honor as well as remember. However, I could not help but feel a sense of sadness that only photographs and memories remained of these individuals. They were not there with their families where they belonged. They could not share in the festivities to that we enjoyed today in the physical sense.
Photos by Alex Hughes
Hopefully, spiritually, somewhere, they saw the many that came to appreciate their lives and their culture. I found the event to be a gateway to seeing more of Mexico in my local area. What better way than to see a large holiday that gets people together. Glimpses of Oaxacan folklore to bug snacks to Mexican tourist gifts and the blend of Catholicism with traditional native beliefs, here I managed to enjoy the sensory experiences using my sight, hearing and smell to take it in. I learned an important lesson that day that there is much more to experience than that I am used to.
Each day, I must find more about my city in order to truly live fully here and be a Vistan.