Sunday, November 3, 2013
DAY OF THE DEAD IN MURPHYS.
The Day of the Dead, celebrated in Murphys, was a good opportunity to take some time from mundane chores and head for town. Jim got into a shirt he bought in Central America or Mexico, where he has seen a genuine Dia de los Muertes celebration and parade.
The first altar we came to was celebrating the life of Frenchman, Maurice Chevelier, erected by a French couple who run the tasting room in Murphys "Mall". Another we encountered later celebrated Julia Child.
The Marisola Olive Oil tasting room had a more personal remembrance, perhaps each employee put up pictures of deceased loved ones.
I liked the "home-made" aspect of it. These are just cardboard boxes decorated with pictures. That is what the celebration is all about, once a year, remember our loved ones who have passed and celebrate life. In the deepest jungles of Brazil, where graves are close to home, the people celebrate with an altar on the grave. Typical food is empanadas.
The other element of the celebration is to place things on the altar that the deceased person cherished, often favorite foods. Flowers and candles are typical. This one was a mystery to us, the pliers and acorns. I can only admire and speculate, the cuts in the paper, the crayons, perhaps an artist who used these tools? Made crafts from acorns?
Inside of an art gallery is a huge picture frame altar where visitors were encouraged to pick a tag and write the name of a loved one you wish to celebrate and hang it from the tree. Very touristy, and I expect that is what most of this celebration is about here in the new, re-invented Murphys, that visitors love so well.
Speaking of re-inventing, suddenly, the Murphys Hotel has a ghost of "long-standing" with an elaborate story about her lost lover, and devoted employment at the hotel, her death and ghostly antics only witnessed by employees. Ghosts are very popular in the Motherlode.
I really enjoyed the day. We followed the mariachi band from place to place.
The costuming. There was a costume contest and parade. And participants like us who dressed up a bit. But, this costume was beautiful and very elaborate. I hope she won.
This girl was taking a picture of the mariachi band.
Miss Northern California Teen attended with her father.
A second band entertained from a porch in the middle of town. They were a good listen.
My neighbor, Pam Chisholm, got into the spirit of the day.
Two places in town offered face painting.
This gentleman was in front of the Gene and Norman Tanner house that is now a vacation rental. He had the place outfitted to the max.
You could by a skull and decorate it.
He had very authentic Mexican candelabra and the typical cakes sold all over Mexico for this day. He served candied pumpkin, another traditional food. Many of the 21 altars around town had traditional cakes.
He had set-ups where you could have your picture taken.
Even an altar to remember and celebrate your favorite pets.
What I liked most about this celebration was how uncrowded it was. Here, in front of the Peppermint Stick, is a scene right out of the fifties. I thoroughly enjoyed walking town, even if half the businesses have changed hands, several times, and I can't remember what they were. The Peppermint Stick and the Murphys Hotel have withstood the onslaught of too many wine tasting rooms. The celebration won't stay this way for very long. At 6:00 p.m. there was a candlelight procession to the St. Patricks Church Cemetery. We opted to skip home for dinner and a movie. We watched Tootsie, which neither of us had ever seen before. I swear, we are culturally deprived. LOL