El Dia de los Muertos

By Jonathan Adams Nov 02, 2007

I have never been a fan of Halloween. Something about trick-or-treating and candy and costumes never appealed to me even as a young child. But after looking at the ridiculous Halloween party pictures where young white students dressed in blackface and the NYT story about a woman "harmlessly" hanging a Black skeleton by a noose for decoration, the holiday seems less like an innocent child-like reason to play dress up and increasingly more of a reason for grown-up racism to go unchallenged. I think I like this multicultural approach to el Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) a lot better. Typically celebrated on November 1 and 2 by Mexicans, Ignacio Palmieri–grandson of legendary musician Eddie Palmieri–adopted the tradition to help mourn his mother’s death and buiilt an altar in her honor. Palmieri’s altar is one of 15 on display at the Oakland Museum of California where many artists incorporated modern U.S. culture into the ancient tradition. The Oakland Museum exhibit runs through December 2nd.