Dia de Los Muertos is a very important holiday in the Mexican community as well as other Latin American and European countries. It is a day we celebrate the lives of the loved ones who we have lost. It is not a somber occasion, rather a joyous one. This is a day we show our loved ones how much they are loved. We visit and decorate their final resting place in hopes they can find their way back home. We make ofrendas, or little altars in their honor. We adorn it with flowers, their favorite foods and drinks, photos, candles and we make sugar skulls to honor the dead. This holiday is celebrated on November 2.
Yumare is no stranger to this holiday. As some of you may know, we lost one of our very own a few years ago. Jasmen Gonzalez was a typical little girl who loved to dance, hang with her friends and family and was silly in every way possible. She was a delight to have in class. Even though she would talk and giggle while I was teaching class, she was a ray of sunshine to my day. I could never stay mad at her. I would raise my voice to her when she was not paying attention or shout at her when she was talking during class but just one look at her smile....and I would just hang my head in defeat. Her life was ended shortly and tragically on Oct 30, 2011. I had lost my best friend and sister on Aug. 19, 2010 and I was still grieving one year later. So when I heard the news that Jasmen was missing, my heart fell out on the floor. No, Not again....my heart can only take so much. But knowing that Jasmen was safe now, with my sister and all my family members not to mention her family members to watch over her and show her the clouds...I feel alot better. Yumare has a guardian angel in our little Jasmen. and of course I would like to think my sister is hanging around too. My sister danced only briefly with me. She wasn't much of a dancer, that was my calling. But she loved dressing up and showing off and the sort. She was; however, a great stage mom! That, I miss. She would do our hair while we were putting on our boots. she would secure our hairbuns while we were finishing dress changes. She knew I was tender headed, but she would jam those bobby pins in so hard, I would tear up. but those suckers were secure! So many memories....
In honor of our deceased, Yumare studios will set up an ofrenda in our studio. We will post photos of our loved ones, place flowers and candles and also calaveras (painted skulls) on our altar. Everyone is encouraged to help build our beautiful shrine to our loved ones. I will be contributing to it in honor of Jasmen, my sister, my beloved dog Smokey, my grandmother, my grandfather and all my aunts and uncles who have left this world and are residing in the clouds.
Director of Yumare Mexican Folkloric Dancers Inc