Some people wouldn’t think that you can find Latin American art and culture at a museum for American Indians, but you can because Latin American culture is a mix of indigenous and Spanish culture. So, until Washington D.C. builds the much needed National Museum of The American Latino, this is a good place to look for a little Latinidad.
While the American Indian museum will have special events specifically for Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), they have many things on display year round.
“Day of the Dead rituals date back thousands of years. Early Mesoamerican peoples saw death as a continuation of life. They believed deceased members of their family could return to them during a month long celebration in late summer.
Spanish colonizers tried and failed to put an end to the ritual. Instead, to integrate it into Christian tradition, they moved its observance to the first two days of November: All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.”
-Printed on a plaque at The National Museum of the American Indian
These women were sewing and I didn’t want to disturb them by snapping photos too closely or interrupt them by asking questions, so I’m not sure of their ethnicity, but their colorful embroidery reminded me very much of Latin America.
Also on display…
I tried to make traditional calaveras (skulls) out of sugar for Dia de Los Muertos, (Day of the Dead on November 2nd), but they didn’t come out very well because my local Latino markets didn’t have the molds I wanted to use. I decided I would make them another way.
I saw a creative Etsy crafter had used felt, and was going to make some like that, but then I happened upon ceramic skulls at The Dollar Tree. They were actually 2 for $1.
With just a little craft paint and some creativity – Ta da! A calavera for Dia de los Muertos :)
If you want to make one, too, go check your local dollar stores for clearance Halloween decorations. ¡Diviértanse! (Have fun!)