This is the entrance to the Dia de Los Muertos Festival held at a private home each year in central Phoenix. I don't know who owns the house. I've gone several years, and I'm still not sure. I read about it in the newspaper one year, or maybe I found out another way. Doesn't matter. I just know this person, a man I think, opens up their big backyard (it's very big) each year to honor the spirits of our dead loved ones. This was my third year coming except this year I arrived after midnight as I had to work late at the resturant. The house where the festival takes place is in the kind of neighborhood that you drive through with your car doors locked and you see poverty first hand. For a moment, after I parked my car, I thought maybe I was like those women in those movies you see walking alone at night in dark parking lots. Duh! But I heard the music playing, saw the colorful lights strung from the tops of the palm tree, and laughter and conversation coming from beyond the doorway. It was a beautiful Arizona November night. Crisp. Also, I like the idea behind The Day of the Dead....honoring our dead loved ones with light and joy and food and drink and dance. I think our dead loved ones like it, too!
The backyard was covered with soft straw and there were couches and tables and chairs set up for people to sit and talk. There was a dance floor with music and people were dancing. The backyard goes on and on and there are more tables and more chairs and couches and blankets because people stay up very late, until the sun rises, to honor the dead. No one paid much attention to me as they we were busy talking and having fun. A mariachi band was leaving as I arrived. I missed the big procession where people awaken the dead with rattles and drums and so on. Skeleton's play a big role in The Day of the Dead and many people had their faces painted white. I had a glass of red wine, given freely to me, and went toward the centerpiece of the festival. The altar.
This year I was wondering since I was there so late and there were less people, if maybe I might find out who owns this house. I think it might be this man. The skeleton with the big hat.