Day of the Dead


Today was the Day of the Dead celebration at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art. Kirkwood Hall was visited by those honoring the dead, at an altar built by local artists, and viewing the wonderful exhibition of the work of Jose Guadalupe Posada.


The Day of the Dead is a time for ancestors to return home, visit loved ones and feast on their favorite food and music.  The celebrations are based in the belief that the souls of the dead can come back to our world on specific days. Altars are made to guide the souls home, where their families are waiting to show them that they have not been forgotten.

  • The arch represents the passage between life and death.
  • Water represents purity and quenches the thirst of the spirits.
  • Candles represent light, faith and hope and illuminate the journey.
  • Fresh flowers (often marigolds) remind us of the brevity of life.
  • Favorite food is a feast for the dead to enjoy.
  • Salt symbolizes purification.

The hand-crafted skeletons (calaveras) are funny and friendly rather than frightening. They represent the beloved dead, their occupations and their hobbies.


Yes, that is a watermelon that someone offered.  :0)    And… no matter where I was the lovely lady was looking at me smiling.  In life, she must have enjoyed having her photograph taken.



I would guess that these were in honor of a couple of handsome musicians!  Maybe next year I will make myself up like the one below for Halloween!


There was a wonderful group of young printmakers from The Print Factory doing an interactive demonstration… I was the lucky recipient of the two on the right in the photo below.  I so admire young people who are doing what they were born to do and not ending up in the pharmaceutical industry… no pun intended there ;0)


The guy playing music was created by Katie Grimes and the row of skeletons by Will Burnip.

This post has gotten entirely too long, but before I finish I need to include some quick shots from the Posada exhibition.  It’s funny… you are allowed to take non-flash photographs in the museum, but I always feel like I’m being “watched” so as to say… you really shouldn’t be taking those photographs… oh well… I do anyway.


A portion of “The Calavera of Don Quixote”


A portion of “The Calavera from Oaxaca”


“The Calaveras of the Newscarriers”… today we call them paparazzi!

Now… to end… on the other side of where I started.


Random note… at about 11 pm tonight I felt my first earthquake… scaaary!  Couldn’t quite figure out what was going on and the first thing that went through my head was… is this what happens when you honor the dead?

~ by kcjewel on November 5, 2011.

7 Responses to “Day of the Dead”

  1. I love this posts and the colors that you captured here, awesome!

  2. Love the photos…the day of the dead is truly a colorful celebration. I might know some one who could frame those prints;)

  3. Wow, an earthwake! Take care.

    Your photos are much nice than the ones in the New Mexico Magazine this year. Great work!

  4. Wow … very interesting/colorful post.

  5. Wow! They really did a great job with this! I remember when I lived in Arizona it was a huge celebration there with all of the Mexican influence.

  6. Awesome photos of a very colorful celebration! I’m so glad that we didn’t feel the earthquake at our house in Kansas City North. I would have been freaking out.

  7. You did an excellent job capturing the colors of this event.

    Steve Schwartzman

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: