To say that we only remember those who've passed beyond this earthly state during a single time of year is to not fully explore the relationship between the living and the dead.
Those who have gone before us are always with those whose love remains strong, and memories are all around, every single day, to remind and comfort us. But the chance to join others in a larger and livelier festivity, one that pays homage to not only loved ones who've journeyed on but the idea of death, life, and the gossamer veil that blows so lightly between the two is a chance that returns the first of November.
While many locations around Southern California honor Día de los Muertos in myriad ways, and ways that begin long before All Souls' Day, when the fervor of Halloween is still high, Olvera Street remains a focal point for festivities, thanks in large part for its multi-day commemoration of the memory-laden occasion.
The festivities will stretch into Monday, but if you want to join the candlelit Novenario, be sure to be at El Pueblo by 7 o'clock on Nov. 1 and 2, the final day for the procession. It includes "colorful pageantry and indigenous blessings," and participants will feast upon pan de muerto at its close.
A children's workshop on Nov. 1 includes the making of masks, the painting of flowers, and the all-important, everyone-take-a-swing piñata after the creative sessions wrap up.
And if making some quiet time to stroll before the elaborate, detail-packed, chrysanthemum- and photo-filled altars is important, you can do so. Find the altars created by merchants and those wanting to pay homage to a beloved person of import in the Plaza.
Calacas make-up, candles, and the other touches of the autumntime commemoration remind us of the closeness the two worlds share, the Here and the Next. Pondering that closeness can be done anywhere, but to join others, on Olvera Street, is a traditional and beautiful expression of the spirit of Día.