The Days of the Dead Festival

The British Museum are putting on a three day Mexican Days of the Dead Festival from 30th October until the 2nd November.

There will be music, art and story telling. There will also be a huge painted  selfie wall where you can take photographs of yourselves and your families. It measures  3 metres by 3 metres. It has been printed from this picture painted by our lovely Beatrice.

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If you should be at the British Museum over the weekend please go and see it.
The annual festival in Mexico dates back over 3000 years. Families go to visit the dead and celebrate the cycle of life and death.  They bring decorated sugar skulls, marigolds and the favourite food and drink of their dead . Dias de los Muertos coincides with the Catholic All Saints Day, but it predates it and in Mexico is combined with ancestor veneration. People build altars in their homes but on  31st October they keep their dead company in the cemetery. They believe that the souls of dead children are allowed back for this one night to be with their  families. On 2nd November they are joined by the souls of dead adults. This belief that the dead return to their families on one night of the year  is an ancient one and you find it in many cultures round the world. The Pagan Festival of Samhain celebrated by the Celts is very similar. The idea of remembering and having a party with your dead ancestors is rather lovely. Much nicer than trick or treating and dressing up in blood curdling outfits.

But Beatrice does spooky too. Here is the Halloween  backdrop  she painted. I don’t know who the scary lady is.  A ghost perhaps. Or maybe a vampire. Is that a dead crow nestling amongst the flowers on her hat? I wouldn’t be surprised.

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You may remember Beatrice and Bertie, as I wrote about their jetty garden earlier this year.

Congratulations dear Beatrice on the commission for the British Museum.

I don’t have any painted sugar skulls, but I do have a vase of marigolds which are the  flowers the Mexicans liked to use for the Day of the Dead Festival.

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17 Responses to The Days of the Dead Festival

  1. Congratulations, what an accolade to Beartice’s work, she’s so talented. Thank you for sharing her success with those of those of us who regrettably won’t get to the British Museum, what a fabulous painting, no wonder it was selected.

  2. Well, Happy Day of the Dead? I agree with you about the concept of the holiday. And Beatrice is lovely and so is her painting. What an honor to have your work at the British Museum.

  3. Brian Skeys says:

    An interesting post as usual Chloris, I did not know about the Day of the Dead, although I am prepared, we have pot marigolds in the garden. You do have a talented daughter in law?

  4. Tina says:

    It’s an interesting and colorful tradition. Growing up in Texas and specifically, South Texas, I’m very familiar with Dia de los Muertos. And your Beatrice is wildly talented!! Many congratulations on her beautiful work!

  5. Sam says:

    Wow, what a fabulous painting and how brilliant to have work at the British Museum. I am not a halloween fan but I quite like the idea of toasting my dead loved ones. I still have marigolds flowering in the veg patch, so I think I’ll follow your lead and bring some indoors tomorrow.

  6. Beatrice is incredibly talented! Wow! Believe it or not, I still have Marigolds blooming in my garden. Usually, they’d be dead by mid-October. That El Nino is treating us well, here in the middle of North America. Enjoy the celebrations!

  7. Christina says:

    Congratulations to Beatrice, she is indeed very talented, I’m so pleased her talent is being recognized. Here it is Chrysanthemums that are taken to the cemetery, in fact that is all the Italians use them for and they would be very ungrateful if I took a bouquet of my Chrysanthemums as a hostess gift! It is usually a holiday here but as its Sunday, everyone misses out.

  8. Pauline says:

    How fantastic for Beatrice to have her work chosen by the British museum, she is one talented lady! I don’t like all the hype about Halloween, but do celebrate All Souls Day and All Saints Day, much nicer!

  9. homeslip says:

    I agree, All Souls or its equivalent around the world is a much nicer way or festival to remember one’s dead than ghastly Hallowe’en which is becoming as commercial as Christmas. Beatrice’s painting is amazing and what a well-deserved honour for her artwork to be chosen by the British Museum.

  10. Flighty says:

    A enjoyable post and wonderful pictures. it’s interesting to see that my favourite flowers are used to celebrate this festival. xx

  11. bittster says:

    Your Beatrice is quite talented, congratulations to her on the recognition, and I love her work.
    We finished up the Halloween trick or treating here last night and the children are gratefully sleeping off their over sugaring and I am enjoying the quiet.
    The holiday has really taken off with more and more decorating and parties each year. Next year I will join you and put away the sugared skulls in favor of a simple marigold bouquet. We have the tagetes of course (frost permitting) and a vase of this does sound like a nicer gesture to the season than a bloody rubber mask.

  12. Looks like a lot of fun, and I’m very impressed with Beatrice’s work. A little far from here, but we do have a Mexican Fine Arts Museum in Chicago that also does exhibits on the Day of the Dead (there’s a huge Mexican presence in this city). Definitely worth visiting.

  13. snowbird says:

    Oh….how fascinating!!! I agree that it’s far better to celebrate the dead than dress up!!!
    Now how could we possibly forget Beatrice and Bertie??? and their fab jetty! Congratulations to Beatrice, what a talent that gal has….how I wished I could have got to see her marvelous artwork!xxx

  14. Julie says:

    Gosh, how exciting for you all and especially Beatrice, her work is so vibrant and detailed and quite lovely. I can imagine this will be really popular with all that visit and I hope lots of folk get the opportunity to take part. Good luck to Beatrice too for more success, she is very talented.

  15. Debra says:

    I love Beatrice’s painting. She truly has a spectacular talent. We celebrate Día de Muertos here. My altar is all set up. I was thrilled to find the right kind of marigolds for sale this year since I spent ages searchign unsuccessfully last year.

  16. mrsdaffodil says:

    I’m lost in admiration of Beatrice’s work! Thanks for posting.

  17. Cathy says:

    You know how lovely and talented she us without us all telling you, of course – but it was good to have all the details about the commission and the lowdown on the Days of the Dead Festival. I have just pricked out some marigold seedlings but I don’t think they would count somehow…

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