Hola, Travel Freak’s, it’s Hispanic Heritage Month; a time for festivities and celebrations that honor our departed loved ones. No tricks this Wild Wednesday – Just treats favored by our loved ones along with photos, and flowers we place on the altars in cemeteries and homes for Día de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead.

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Halloween stirs up imagines of ghosts and monsters. Children anticipate this festive night when they’ll slip into their favorite costume to go trick or treating. Halloween or All Hallows’ Eve is a time when the veil between worlds is lifted, and has different meanings in other cultures. For pagans, or the people of the country, also known as witches, it is a time of ceremonies and blessings to give thanks to mother nature for the harvest we shall reap.

In the Hispanic culture October 31st through November 2nd is a time to celebrate the lives of our departed loved ones through festivities, drink, food, and music. The festivities include Dia de los Angelinos or Day of the Little Angels, All Saints’ Day or Día de odos los Santos, and All Souls’ Day or Día de todas las almas, which is also referred to as Day of the Dead.

While some folks are out trick or treating on Halloween, others are loving decorating the graves of departed children for Dia de los Angelinos; the Day of the Little Angels. The family member’s, and sister’s and brother’s of these departed Little Angels often dress up, and bring their favorites treats, sugar skulls, and toys to place on altars.

Don’t be frightened when passing a cemetery and you spot candle lights a glow during these three days. It is just families who’ve gathered to honor and remember their loved ones. They’ll bring photos, as well as items cherished by the deceased like snacks or mementoes, and sometimes a blanket and pillow so the spirit of their loved one can rest. Then, the family will share treasured memories, play music while enjoying the fest that often includes Pan de Muerto or bread of dead, as well as special prepared treats and drinks.

Seeds Of Learning, Seeds Of Love – The Story Of A Día de los Muertos Altar

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Great care goes into preparing Día de los Muertos altars. These beautifully crafted tributes are traditionally decorated with yellow and orange marigolds, known as flowers of the dead. Looking at the photos, and cherished items of the loved ones is a moving experience as it was when exploring the exhibit at the Indiana State Museum http://usatravelmagazinenews.blogspot.com/2014/09/hispanic-heritage-month-at-indiana.html. One particular altar created by the Anderson Folklorico Dance Troupe called Seeds Of Learning, Seeds Of Love was dedicated to Haris http://www.huffingtonpost.com/haris-suleman/ and Baber Suleman.

If their names sound familiar it’s because they were in the news recently for taking an adventurous flight around the world. They took off from the Greenwood Airport nearby our home, and Haris shared his thoughts on his journey via Huffington Post. Their story touches close to our hearts. Haris was a junior at Plainfield High School in Indiana; the same school in which our oldest son graduated.

Lovingly placed about the altar is a arch of flowers. Below, are touching drawing by children of their plane flying around the world, and a soccer ball with the #14. There is a bowl of fruits and vegetables along with a photo of Haris’ plane, sea shells, and with polished stones engraved with the words Peace, Love, Hope, and Faith. We followed their story in the news, and they were so close to completing their adventure – then the plane went down. A child’s drawing of the plane with an arrow pointing downward towards the water captures the heartache. While their journey ended in tragedy, their adventurous spirits, and the inspiration they encouraged are remembered in this altar.

Festive Events Celebrating The Day Of The Dead

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You do not need to be Hispanic to join a Day of the Dead festival. It’s a celebration for all, so, don’t be afraid to paint your face or dress up. Just get out and embrace the cultural experiences offered at these and other festivals during Hispanic Heritage Month.

Staten Island – New York City Day of the Dead Festival

Held in Staten Island, annual New York City Day of the Dead Festival  is free festival for all to enjoy on Sunday, October 26, 2014 from 12pm-7pm at Our Lady of Mount Carmel-St.Benedicta School. As the festival kicks off you may join in the creation of communal ofrenda or altar buy placing flowers and dedication’s to your loved ones. Learn about the traditions of Mexico, join traditional crafts workshops, kick off your shoes and dance, enjoy the festive music, and sample plenty of food and drinks throughout the day.

Indianapolis, IN – Day of the Dead Festival

The Indiana State Museum will also host a festival on October 25 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.. You’ll see altars, or ofrendas that were created by community members, artists, schools and families in Indiana. As in the Day of the Dead tradition, each altar celebrates the life of a deceased person and symbolically welcome their returning soul. These altar’s will be located in Legacy Theater on Level 1 of the museum through November 2. An interesting part of the exhibit is learning how these altars are decorated using photos, trinkets, and other items to help personalize and create a tribute to each person.

Hollywood, CA – Dia de los Muertos at Hollywood Forever Cemetery

The Dia de los Muertos celebration at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, which dates back to 1988, is located at 6000 Santa Monica Blvd. in Los Angeles. This festive and spiritual event has become a tradition for many in the City of Angels.

Austin, TX – Dia de los Muertos Festival

In Austin, Texas they’ll host a Dia de los Muertos Festival at the Oswaldo A.B. Cantu/Pan American Center, located at 2100 East 3rd St. on October 25, 2014 from 12:00pm – 10:00pm. The proceeds from the Austin Dia de los Muertos Festival will benefit the Easter Seals of Central Texas.

Discover Local Events To Join

Explore events and attractions on Staten Island go to the Office of the Staten Island Borough website. Or, For attractions and festive events across the state of New York visit the New York Department of Economic Development.

For information on Indiana destinations, events and attractions to enjoy visit the Indiana Bureau of Tourism website.

The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce offers news on local events, attractions and trip planning options.

Visit the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau to explore area events, attractions, and plan your trip.

Wild Wednesday Facts:

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  • We can honor and remember our loved ones through our own alters. They do not have to be elaborate, nor placed around their graves. Just a place a collection of mementos and photos on a book shelf or as a centerpiece on a table, light a candle, and remember the joyous moments you shared.
  • Dating back over 3000 years, the Day of the Dead is blend of Christian influences with the customs of pre-Columbian cultures. For the Aztec culture it was a time to honor the goddess Mictecacihuatl. It is also celebrated in Brazil, Spain, and other countries.
  • To find Day of the Dead and other festivities to join during Hispanic Heritage Month check the websites of your local town or state travel and tourism office.
  • Interested in learning more about your cultural heritage? Explore Your Family History Through Genealogy.

How will you celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month?

photos via Melody Schubert

 

With a passion for travel and creativity, Journalist and Photographer, Melody Schubert let’s her imagination guide her as she explores the world. For her, everyday is an opportunity to embrace something new, and explore intriguing and overlooked destinations that express the heart of a region, and share these discoveries with readers of Travel Freak. She is also Editorial Executive for USA Travel Magazine - http://www.usatravelmagazine.com/ where she shares more of travel interests.

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