Saturday, November 2, 2013

Dia de Muertos Ohio 2013

Some people find the images macabre colorful and amusing, supra is from September's Cleveland Art Museum chalkfest.
 College Heights Baptist Church Elyria Ohio. Sign being changed late afternoon 1 November.
I know nothing of this particular church, other than its location. There is a distinct tendency for Baptists to declare themselves 'Evangelicals', sometimes 'Fundamentalists'. Although Baptists have similar tendencies, there are several Baptist bodies, and beyond that much independence of one congregation in relation to all Baptist organisations. Why bring this up? Their theology and tradition has, at some points, no intersection/overlap with older Christian groups. Some of their interpretations are not in the same plane with other believers, even the definition of terms are dissimilar. And this holds true for both 'white' and 'black' people who are Baptist.

While Baptists, Fundamentalists, Pentecostalists, Jehovah Witnesses, and other similar groups in the US are familiar with secular participation in Hallowe'en, they have no understanding and interest in its religious traditions. Some claim it to be pagan/satanic, only partly to the overlap of the pre-christian Irish Gaelic end of harvest festival, Samhain. There is an extravagant enthusiasm to use Hallowe'en as a vehicle of hellfire evangelisation; while some side show entrepreneurs stage haunted houses (that vary between spooky and gory), this sort of Protestant have hell houses. One of the early hucksters was Jerry Falwell. It is odd that so many have inclinations to be theatric impresarios, but fail wretchedly through insane, ignorant, and false notions of showmanship, reality, and culture (sort of what teabagger conservatism is in the political realm).

Hallowe'en, to put it in current English, is the evening before All Saints Day. Now, the western church has these days as 31 October, and 1 November; the eastern church the first Sunday after Pentecost. In continental Europe, and Latin America people also visit the graves of family. A similar day is All Souls, 2 November; for the eastern church several Saturdays are days for All Souls.

Now, in pre-Columbian Mexico there were holidays to remember the dead. After the introduction of Christianity, some of the old customs were attached to the triduum (the three days) 31October-2 November. There is a combination of folkloric culture, christian celebration and prayer, and family commemorations. These activities help people with the grief they have felt over the loss of loved ones in death. Death's sting is dulled through festivites.

Now, in Cleveland the Mexican version has been co-opted by Cleveland Public Theatre and contemporary local artists, much like the outdoor celebrations staged by the Cleveland Art Museum. The local indigenous culture is too small, and too short in time, so an arts group organises the celebration. On Detroit Avenue just north of West 65th, there are two Catholic parishes: Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and La Sagrada Familia. Here follows fotos of the Ninth annual celebration of the Day of the Dead in Cleveland:
 it was a rainy afternoon
 there was a parade that had its turnaround at a funeral home
Samantha Meyers is one of the artists.
This is her life size katrina-esque doll before the former iconostasis. The building, originally was St. Mary's Romanian Orthodox in 1904, before they built a new church further west in Cleveland in 1960. The campus then became Holy Resurrection Russian Orthodox. It is now part of Cleveland Public Theatre.
 Santa Cecilia Mariachi playing in the former parish hall
time for a picture
see previous post on Posada's calaveras [click]

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