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Mercado La Paloma Brings Dia de Los Muertos to South L.A.

Candice Aman |
November 6, 2011 | 6:55 p.m. PST

Associate Arts Editor


As I looked from across the street, waiting for the pedestrian light to turn, the marigold hued building of the Mercado La Paloma seemed the same as it has always been: bustling, cheery, and relatively unassuming.

Performers came fully dressed for the part. (Candice Aman/Neon Tommy)
Performers came fully dressed for the part. (Candice Aman/Neon Tommy)

However on this particular Sunday, the Mercado, a sector of the long-term community development project, Esperanza Community Housing Corporation, was more festive than ever—playing host to its second annual Dia de Los Muertos event.

Filling the place are the likes of theatrical performers reminiscent of witch doctors and skeletal beings parading around, children (and adults alike) lining up to get their faces painted like the candy-colored skulls, and altars decorated with beds of flowers being carefully placed on display.

To honor the day of the dead, community residents can indulge in a festive lineup of activities, including live demostrations of leather work and tradition basket weaving, cultural performances, as well as vendors selling handcrafted creations and one-of-a-kind jewelry.

Adorned with an ornate floral headdress, a fully painted face and cultural attire, Mayra Placencia, one of the various vendors, spent her childhood celebrating the holiday in her hometown in Mexico.

"[Dia de Los Muertos] was my favorite holiday because everyone would dress in costumes and bring their favorite food to the cemetery," Placencia said. "Mercado La Paloma has done a good job in celebrating spirit of how people celebrated in Mexico."

The event also featured a selection of paintings and sculptures from a handful of local artists.

One such artist, Alfonso Gonzales, has been painting and sculpting florescent colored religious motifs for the past 12 years.

His pieces reflect upon the unique culture of kitsch that has blossomed from this widely celebrated holiday.

With plenty to do and see at the event, it is no surprise that Dia de Los Muertos at the Mercado La Paloma was nothing short of a successful day.

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