Día de los Muertos and other First Friday Fragments



Dia de los Muertos display at Casa Hola, Knoxville

First Friday in November fell at the end of the week that included Halloween which, of course is related to and around the time of other various holidays and traditions, most of which have to do with the dead such as the Day of the Dead celebrated in Mexico among other places and All Saints Day celebrated by many Christian churches world-wide.
 

Fortune Teller on Market Square, Knoxville, November 2011

I encountered my first spooky sight on Market Square where fortunes were being read by multiple fortune tellers. I had an encounter with one such lady when I was a child that scared me forever. It’s a story for another day, but suffice to say I gave the booths a wide berth on Market Square that night.


Rodney Alexander plays saxophone with Jack Wolf, Market Square Stage, Knoxville

 

Beautiful Dog on the 100 Block, Knoxville, November 2011

All wasn’t spooky: Rodney Alexander was on the stage playing his saxophone with Jack Wolf and they sounded great, as always. Dogs, such as the gorgeous one pictured here ambled about pulling their owners along. I’ve already described the furniture and other wood-working on display in the Emporium.

Educational display for Dia de los Muertos

 

Dia de los Muertos display, Casa Hola, Knoxville, November 2011

But then there was the display in Casa Hola. I finally met Coral in person (we’d chatted online) and she gave me the thumbnail sketch of the Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead celebration. Graves are decorated, memorials such as the ones on display in Casa Hola are constructed. The objects each have meaning, symbolizing something about the person who is diceased and, often, the family’s story is included as well.

Amazing display built by one person for Dia de los Muertos, Casa Hola, Knoxville

Coral had stories to tell about the people behind the displays, as well. Casa Hola tries to help strengthen the Latino community and some people look to them as a lifeline as they try to build their careers or find a foothold in an environment that is often foreign to them. Their support is, no doubt, critical to many. I’d encourage you to go by the Emporium and get to know these joyful, wonderful people.



Mural, Memorial and Madam Death (I made that part up for the aliteration)

I think the displays are probably gone by now, but I’d say you could catch them again next year. I’d encourage it. They aren’t near as scary as fortune-telling ladies.

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