Montevallo holds Dia De Los Muertos

Published 12:07 pm Friday, November 3, 2023

By BARTON PERKINS | Staff Writer

MONTEVALLO – Children and adults with faces painted like calavera skulls walked the streets of Montevallo at the city’s first-ever celebration of Dia De Los Muertos.

“We have wanted to do this for a few years now,”Montevallo Main Street Director Courtney Bennett said. “I hadn’t been familiar with Day of the Dead until I went to the one in Birmingham, and it was just so inspirational. I always wanted to do something similar in Montevallo.”

Dia De Los Muertos,‘The Day of the Dead’, is a Latin American holiday that originated in Mexico where the deceased are remembered and honored by their loved ones. The holiday is thought to originate from the cultural practices of Mayan and Aztec culture, though there is some debate that the holiday was actually created during the presidency of Lázaro Cárdenas who sought to create a unified Aztec identity for the Mexican people during his tenure as President of Mexico from 1934 to 1940.

Regardless of its origins, Dia De Los Muerto has gained tremendous popularity amongst Hispanic populations throughout the world, and has been depicted in several popular movies such as ‘The Book of Life” and “Coco.” 

Montevallo’s first Dia De Los Muerto was initially planned as a small celebration, but nearly two hundred people came out to paint their faces like skulls, wear traditional garb and remember departed loved ones. 

Community members had the chance to set out pictures of their loved ones on community alters, enjoy food from a variety of local food trucks and participate in different craft activities.

There was also a contest to see who could dress up as the best ‘Catrin’ or ‘Catrina,’ two figures from Mexican folklore depicted as skeletons wearing elegant clothes. Some scholars have drawn parallels between ‘Catrina’ and the Aztec goddess of death, Mictecacihuatl who was said to watch over the bones of the dead.

Montevallo’s Dia De Los Muertos was free admission and was organized by Team Lehman, Montevallo Main Street, Impact Montevallo and other community partners and sponsors. Susana Vazquez of Team Lehman took the lead in organizing this event.  

Sponsors included Atlantic Bay, El Lobito, Edwards Chevrolet, El Agave, Impact Montevallo, La Conchita Bakery, Montevallo Main Street, Navarro’s Fresh Market, State Farm, Team Lehman – Keller Williams Metro South, Tree Line, Vera Home Builders, Verus VIP Events and Zapopan Mexican Restaurant.