Altars that pay tender tribute to loved ones who've passed before us?
They're not simply a sight that's only seen as the first of November draws near. Families around Southern California, and well beyond, regularly designate a bedroom corner, or a living room niche, to special photos, foods, flowers, and the holdable, tangible talismans and favorite items of the people who have passed.
But the bloom on this emotional tradition grows even larger and lovelier around the end of October when a host of Día de los Muertos festivals dance across the regional map.
One of the biggest of the festivals, and, at 12 hours, the longest, is the LA Day of the Dead celebration at Hollywood Forever.
The noon-to-midnight cemetery gathering, which typically takes place on the Saturday falling ahead of All Souls Day, includes Aztec blessings, live concerts, dances that originated in Mexico centuries ago, and a host of elaborate and beautiful altars dotting the grounds.
And, of course, guests arrive in their best and most reverential calacas make-up and festive wear, all to lend a lively spirit to the spirited and lively Day of the Dead.
The 2017 celebration is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 28, and artist José Guadalupe Posada, who helped develop much of our modern Muertos-merry imagery over 100 years ago, will be fondly and gratefully remembered.
Can't wait for this special day? You don't have to wait on a ticket: "Limited pre-sale tickets" will be available for purchase, for $20 each, as of noontime on Friday, July 21.
The general on-sale opens on Friday, Aug. 10.
Main stage acts? Those reveals are still to come, in the weeks ahead, and a schedule of performances, too. But as far as thinking about what gorgeous garb you might wrap yourself in, the better to fold into the beyond-the-veil vibe of the festival?
That can begin at any time, as fall, despite the current warm weather, is on approach, as the little signs, and the occasional smiling skeleton, tells us.