In Mexico, people celebrate a holiday called el Día de los Muertos (which translates to “the Day of the Dead” in English). This special day is set aside as a time to remember the lives of deceased family members. The holiday is for celebrating the lives of those who have passed away, more than it is for mourning. It encourages families to reconnect with loved ones as they reflect on the link between our past and our present.
Día de los Muertos celebrations are sometimes small family affairs during which visits are made to the final resting places of relatives. But some are more like large parties with food, music, and dancing, and decorated ofrendas (“altars” in English) covered with brightly colored flowers, candles, and photographs meant to show honor to the spirits of their loved ones.
On the Origins of the Day of the Dead…
“A blend of Mesoamerican ritual, European religion and Spanish culture, the holiday is celebrated each year from October 31-November 2. While October 31 is Halloween, November 2 is All Souls Day or the Day of the Dead. According to tradition, the gates of heaven are opened at midnight on October 31 and the spirits of children can rejoin their families for 24 hours. The spirits of adults can do the same on November 2. The roots of the Day of the Dead, celebrated in contemporary Mexico and among those of Mexican heritage in the United States and around the world, go back some 3,000 years….”
~ from “Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos),” History.com, https://www.history.com/topics/halloween/day-of-the-dead
You will be able to find several Collier County Día de los Muertos celebrations around town this year. Though the traditional date for Día de los Muertos is November 1, some celebrations fall outside of that. For example, the Naples Botanical Garden is celebrating Hispanic culture all year and has a Día de los Muertos exhibit entitled “La Calavera Catrina” planned from October 1, 2022 – January 21, 2023.* This Florida Day of the Dead event is part of the ¡ARTEVIVA! Festival in Naples, and will feature eight larger-than-life colorful fiberglass sculptures of the iconic female skeleton figure dressed in a fancy hat with feathers and flowers. Checking out “La Calavera Catrina,” which is part of the Naples Botanical Garden’s own Día de los Muertos celebration, is just one of the ways to celebrate this unique day in Collier County.
*The Naples Botanical Garden hopes to have this exhibit in full viewing condition, in the wake of Hurricane Ian.
The Naples Art District (NAD), a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts organization located in North Naples, is home to over 90 professional artists–the largest concentration of working artists in the Southwest Florida area. An officially designated cultural arts tourism destination in Collier County, the District gives local professional artists a place that serves as their creative home. The working studios and galleries of NAD member artists are situated within a unique neighborhood alongside local small businesses that cater to design, home décor, and remodeling. The organization hosts a variety of events and workshops throughout the year. NAD is located north of Pine Ridge Road and west of Airport Road; it is open to the public for self-guided tours and during open studio hours; it is accessible all year round. Contact the Naples Art District at any time online or by phone at 239-249-1977 to learn more about the organization and its mission.