What is Day of the Dead?
In modern-day Mexico, the first and second of November is the celebration of Dia de los Muertos, a time to remember friends and family who have passed. The deceased have divine permission to visit loved ones on earth and to share the pleasures of the living. To an outsider this might seem macabre, but in Mexico death is considered to be part of life, and is portrayed with affection and humor by artists throughout the year.
Celebrations vary from region to region, but everywhere the dead are welcomed with ceremony and respect. Graves and altars in towns are adorned with candles, incense, and colorful flowers. No expense or effort is spared. Families gather in graveyards with offerings of food and drink, and in some places brass bands serenade the dead with songs and music. Loved ones who have passed are never forgotten, because once a year they take their place beside the living to enjoy the fruits and flowers of the earth.
And what about Denton’s Day of the Dead Festival?
I have called Denton my home for 10 years now. To a musician like me, Denton has always been a blend of many different talents and genres of music. This artistic blend of talent and styles led me to create the concept behind Denton’s Day of the Dead Festival. Why not have a festival that reflects the diversity of the people of Denton? Something not altogether Dia de los Muertos, or Halloween, or harvest related, but a little bit of everything?
In 2011, with the guidance and support of many of the businesses on Industrial and Hickory Streets, Denton’s Day of the Dead Festival was born. A grassroots movement from the beginning, it now has a life of its own with coffin races, a lantern parade, a salsa cook-off, pumpkin patch, live music, arts and crafts, and of course our original halloween musical, Cirque du Horror. All of this makes Denton’s Day of the Dead something you can’t find anywhere else.
—David J. Anzaldúa Pierce
Founder and Creative Director of Denton’s Day of the Dead Festival