Dressed in a Mexican huipil with her face painted in a traditional calavera (skull), Elena Díaz Bjorkquist answers the questions of what Día de los Muertos is, where it came from, its roots, and how it’s celebrated. Día los Muertos is a significant and highly celebrated holiday in Mexico and the Southwestern United States. Many Mexicans and Mexican Americans believe death isn’t a subject to be feared or ignored from the living. Life cannot be celebrated without celebrating death. This plática (talk) traces the origins of the Mexican festival and describes the traditional elements associated with the holiday including foods, folk crafts, and altars.
Elena Díaz Björkquist is a writer, historian, and artist from Tucson, Arizona. She writes about Morenci where she was born. Elena is the author of two books, Suffer Smoke and Water from the Moon and co-editor of two anthologies by her writing group: Sowing the Seeds, Una Cosecha de Recuerdos and Our Spirit, Our Reality: Celebrating our Stories. She is a scholar and research affiliate with SIROW at the University of Arizona. Elena is the recipient of the 2012 AHC Dan Schilling Public Humanities Scholar Award and the Arizona Commission on the Arts Bill Desmond Writing Award.