Día de los Muertos hits Claremont

Natasha Brennan
Copy Editor

Three miles away in the Claremont Village Día de los Muertos is celebrated with the beautiful decoration of store windows.

Many of the windows feature calacas (skeletons) and calaveras, the decorative artistic representation of skulls often depicted on edible sugar skulls and face makeup associated with the holiday.

The storefront décor is coordinated by the Village Marketing Group and Jacqueline Cook, founder of Jacqueline’s Home Décor. This year 10 artists and 18 stores participated.

The sugar skull art of the windows portrays many scenes and characters including a mermaid, a pumpkin and a skeleton waving to passers-by.

One window depicts Tim Burton characters Jack Skellington, Beetlejuice, the corpse bride and Edward Scissorhands gathered around a table drinking wine.

On the windows of the Back Abbey artist Debbie Fuentes painted a side window in memory of Dr. John Solana and his wife.

Some of the artists matched the window paintings with the stores’ services. Painted by the entrance of the Laemmle Theater is a calavera and bats eating popcorn. On the windows of the Village Postmark a calaca made to look like a postman is being chased by a dog.

At Bottega 25 the street-facing window depicts a male and female calavera and a coyote on a black background painted by Upland artist Alyssa Chin.

“I think it’s really cool. She worked so hard on it, she did a beautiful job,” said Claremont resident and owner of Bottega 25 Brenda Ricciardi.

Chin’s painting took three days to complete.

“She came in while I was working, she was just so shy. Her artwork was amazing,” said Claremont resident Kris Spinosa from Bottega 25.

Rancho Cucamonga resident Sherry Smith, who celebrates Día de los Muertos, said she appreciates the city celebrating her heritage.

“All of the artwork is so beautiful,” Smith said. “I think it’s really nice that the city does this.”
Historians believe Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos evolved from the ancient Aztecs’ one to two month long celebration of Mictecacihuatl, goddess of the underworld.

Up until the 20th century, northern Mexico had less indigenous influence than that of the Catholic church, which denounced the holiday as heresy.

In the 1960s Mexican government made Día de los Muertos a national holiday, creating solidarity between the north and south and Mexico’s indigenous and Catholic traditions.

Although translated from Spanish to “day of the dead,” the holiday spans two days: Nov. 1 and Nov. 2 coinciding with the Catholic holidays All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.

Nov. 1 is referred to as Día de los Inocentes (Day of the Innocents), also known as Día de los Angelitos (Day of the Little Angels).

It is the day to celebrate the life of children and infants who have passed. Nov. 2 marks the day of celebrating the life of passed adults, Día de los Muertos.

Altars are created and decorated with photos, objects, and ofrendas (offerings). Families go the final resting places of their loved ones to decorate their graves.

In Mexico, the holiday is celebrated nationwide with altars built at public schools and government office buildings.

Sunday Nov. 6 from noon to 5 p.m. the city of Claremont will be hosting a Día de los Muertos event at Rio de Ojas gift shop.

Festivities include sugar skull decorating, a taco truck and a community memory board.

Claremont High School will be providing altars and face painting.

The school’s orchestra will perform at 1:30 p.m.

Natasha Brennan can be reached at natasha.brennan@laverne.edu.

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