Last Friday, the annual Day of the Dead parade was held in Milwaukee. I shared some photos of the parade with you guys last year. This year, my mom and I again drove to Milwaukee's Walker's Point area to witness people pay tribute to their lost loved ones in a colorful, meaningful parade. This is one of my favorite parade photos. I love how the girls' happy painted faces are framed by the butterfly and flowers.
I didn't realize there was a skull peeking out at me here until I loaded these photos onto my computer.
The monarch butterflies have a significance to Day of the Dead, because their migration to Mexico coincides with the holiday. There is a belief that the butterflies represent the spirits of loved ones returning home.
These tall puppets are so cool! They were being operated by the people walking under them.
Marigolds are another symbol of the holiday. The scent of the marigold is said to attract the spirits.
There was a band marching with the parade:
This skeleton on stilts spotted me and waved down.
I was happy with how this photo came out. With the late afternoon light behind her, she seems almost ghostly.
After the parade, we headed over to the Walker's Point Center for the Arts to see the annual Dia de los Muertos exhibit. This was the view through the gallery's front window.
How cute is she? This photo is my computer's wallpaper right now.
Some bright skulls sat in front of this fashionable skeleton. If you look closely, you'll see the names painted on the skull's foreheads. I learned while watching a sugar skull decorating tutorial, that the names of those being honored are often written on a skull's forehead.
I'd like to try making a skull floral arrangement like this some time. It's so bright and festive!
Here is that same altar (offerenda) from the inside of the gallery.
There are so many details to look at here. A painting of those being honored, religious art, flowers, Corona. I'm going to assume that the skeleton couple I liked so much on the other side of this are symbolic of the couple in this painting. There was a photo of a couple above those sculptures too.
Papel picado was hanging from the ceilings, walls, and offerendas. Papel picado is a popular decoration for Day of the Dead celebrations.
I'm used to seeing the skull pattern, but this bird was new to me.
A skeletal mermaid:
This photo makes me smile, because these two were clearly enjoying themselves. That skull had been carried throughout the parade.
A large Catrina banner hung on the wall. You can see the monarch butterflies here and calla lilies, another flower used for this holiday. You're probably already familiar with the flower's meaning of death and resurrection.
Another bright, beautiful banner: Lupita y Pancho
This sculpture was made up of metal, beads, glass, rhinestones, ceramics, and probably a lot more. I love the little metal hand hanging by the skeleton's side.
The banner at the bottom of this is cut off somewhat. The comforting message read:
"To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die."
This is another photo from the inside of the gallery. The windows were painted with images of skeletons playing instruments and dancing.
This was another surprise photo for me. I had no idea there was a little skeleton peeking at me from the bottom left of this photo.
The parade continued to move by as we watched from inside the gallery. I learned that a good way to get photos of people looking at you is to stand on the other side of a window.
There were a lot of children smiling and waving as they walked by, but those photos unfortunately turned out blurry. I guess they were moving a little too fast for my camera!
All of the parade participants were welcoming to us as viewers and we were greeted in a really friendly way at the gallery. It's so cool to have the opportunity to see this tradition and learn about it. This event is clearly something very personal to those involved, and it's nice that the Milwaukee community is welcomed to be a part of it!
I'm ending with some videos that show a little more about the symbols and traditions I mentioned above.
There's a seemingly endless amount of sugar skull makeup tutorials out there. Searching "sugar skull makeup" on YouTube will give you a lot of results. Here's one of my favorites:
If there are any Day of the Dead events going on where you guys are, I'd like to hear about them!