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Now, however, “I don’t really follow with the religion anymore,” the Tempe man says with a chuckle.
“I just explain to my kids: I don’t go to church or to cemeteries anymore.”But Day of the Dead is a key part of the art he creates. This year, he has a display at the garden of a spectacular ofrenda that stands 6 feet.
And that helps you cope with the other parts.”As Day of the Dead has expanded, there could be some fear that certain aspects — the spirituality, in particular — could get lost.
Marco Albarran, an exhibit developer at Arizona State University, says evolution is natural.“Here in the United States, they’re just trying to connect to something,” he says.
Dominated by black and vibrant purples, it features a large butterfly and a symbol of a cocoon.
In Mexico, monarch butterflies appear in November, and many believe they carry the souls of ancestors.
It’s especially hard when the loss occurs in early pregnancy, since our culture isn’t accustomed to treating unborn babies as human beings — and this happens even in pro-life circles. I have been in this unfortunate position four times.Now, she has her own opinions, her own understanding of the celebration.She can understand it, and she doesn't think it's boring.But now that his daughter, Frida, is 6 years old, he and his wife, Briseida Silva, have decided she can be introduced to the meaning behind the art that he does."I've been waiting for this moment so we can teach her about Dia de los Muertos," he says.
"At an earlier age, they don't understand it completely.Balcells laughs when he says it’s not obvious what was on his mind when he created the ofrenda. The altar is a tribute to her."You wish this person was here with you," he says.