Remembering Day of the Dead of Years Past

Enjoying Day of the Dead

Day of the Dead 

FCG Dia de los Muertos 
Dia de los Muertos at Fountain Community Gardens
by Alex Alferov & Laura Guzman

“There are three deaths. The first is when the body ceases to function. The second is when the body is consigned to the grave. The third is that moment, sometime in the future, when your name is spoken for the last time.” ― David Eagleman

     On November 1 & 2 Dia de los Muertos is celebrated all across Mexico and in parts of the United States with large Mexican populations. We at Fountain Community Gardens partake in the celebration as many of our gardeners are from Latin America. Day of the Dead is a celebration to remember those that have passed before us. It is a day to celebrate our loved ones by making elaborate altars with their pictures, favorite foods, incense, candles, and flowers. Each item and color in the altar having a meaning and a purpose. 
     Some symbols are represented as follows. Yellow, represents the sun and unity of the living and the dead. White represents the spirit, hope and purity.  Red, represents blood and life.  Purple, represents mourning, grief and suffering.  Pink represents happiness. The fragrant marigold petals are scattered on the altar to guide spirits of loved ones to the celebration.  Sugar skulls are made that are created to resemble the deceased. Water is set out to quench the thirst after the long journey. 
     Each year Alex Alferov, sets up a beautiful altar and invites gardeners to bring pictures of their loved ones and their favorite dish. He encourages our members to plant Marigolds or cempasuchilt, around their tomato plants which helps to keep the pests away and also gives homage to the dead. After the marigolds bloom, he collects the buds. He often says that they remind him of melted butter and honey nestling in his palm, as they darken and glow. 
     In the late fall, he lets images of altars pull and push his days.  As an altar boy, Alex has always been seduced by the pageantry of church service.  Coming from a Russian Orthodox tradition, altars have always been magical havens, inspiring him to believe there is
something beyond this life.
     Alex's adoration of Day of Dead begin in the late 80's when he was selected to be part of the Self Help Graphics artist collective, a non profit arts organization run by a Sister Karen
Boccalero, in the heart of East LA. Dias de los Muertos began in Los Angeles in 1972 after the East Los Angeles riots left many in the Chicano community feeling angered
because of the negative stereotypes that the media portrayed. A
group of Artists from Self-Help Graphics decided that the community
needed to be united in a positive celebration coming out of Los
Angeles and the Chicano community.
FCG Dia de los Muertos 2016