Dias de los Muertos Eat the Street

For those of you that don’t know, I love food. Food is actually one of the things I miss most about home sweet home. I know that’s sad and probably grounds for judgement but I promise whenever I move I start off by looking for a favorite restaurant, a favorite fast food joint and avenues that will allow me to try more foods. Back home we have the “Arts, Beats and Eats” festival every year and since my departure from Detroit I’ve been searching for something close but have had no luck until now. 🙂 That’s why I think Hawaii becomes even more awesome with each passing day! I get shopping, sun, surf, awesome people and good food! I love it! If you find yourself on the island of Oahu and can pull yourself away from the beach for a couple of hours or have a love for dining like myself, join me at this month’s “Eat The Street” where the theme is one of my favorite holidays: Dias de los Muertos! Who knew they celebrated Dias de los Muertos in Hawaii? Silly me! I mean it is a multi-cultural holiday and Hawaii is full of culture so I guess it makes sense. Whatever!

If you have spent any amount of time in Hawaii you will notice that this place is big on food trucks. Here, most small restaurants purchase vans or trucks to dispatch all over the island to deliver their eats and confections. “Eat The Streets” is the one day out of the month when all of the food trucks are gathered in one area allowing you the opportunity to grab your favorite snack or trying something new from that illusive good truck you just can’t seem to catch. This family-friendly event is free to the public and lasts all afternoon so you have plenty of time to swing by after work or before the club. Score! To help cater to the many different cultures and culinary styles on the island, the guys and girls over at Street Grind select a different them for each months “Eat The Streets”. This month, they’ve selected Mexican food and meshed it with a holiday celebration.

Dias de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a multi-cultural holiday similar to American Halloween but holds a deeper and less morbid meaning. In Mexico, Day of the Dead is actually a national holiday celebrated on 1 November that celebrates life after death and actually corrosponds with the Catholic holiday, “All Souls/Saints Day”. It is said that Dias de los Muertos is the one day out of they year when those who have passed away are granted a sort of 24-hour pass and are free to walk the earth and visit with their friends and family. To help celebrate such a joyous day, those who chose to participate in Dias de los Muertos host a parade, throw candy, play games and dress up their children to really get the spirits shackin’. I’ve actually been to one Day of the Dead celebration and I’m not going to front; it’s pretty damn cool!

The parade looks like that scene from the “Welcome to the Black Parade” by My Chemical Romance, video when the parade was marching around looking for “the patient” but full of color and life rather than sick people and gloom as featured in the music video.Those marching in the parade wore lavish costumes and although the face art/stylings weren’t exactly my speed, it was to die for! No pun intended. 🙂 The ladies wore very lavish traditional Mexican garments covered in bright colors and intricate detail; most of which were hand-stitched. Most kids at the parade had their faces painted to resemble skulls, some little tykes went as far as to wear skeleton costumes which was pretty cool (once you get past the initial shock) and some were just in their regular clothes enjoying the festivities. No matter what uniform they were in, the kids seemed to have a grand ‘ole time and actually put on a show of their own. While walking around enjoying the sights I spotted a big group of children dancing in a circle and singing an up-beat tune while banging drums and thumping tambourines. Dancing in the streets was really nothing new to me at this point but what did strike me as a bit odd was the manner in which they were dancing. None of the kids were synchronized and they did not seem to be doing something that they’d choreographed, but nonetheless they were dancing in a large circle at the same time; it’s almost like they were in sync but I wasn’t seeing it at all. Once I got sick of being curious I asked a lady sitting on the sideline what was going on. The woman explained to me that (in essence) the kids were singing a song to the spirits expressing to them that it was okay to return to earth and that they missed them. Interesting. She went on to explain to me that the kids were dancing because in their culture, that’s a way of channeling the energy of your loved one; you dance for them. Not in a creepy way or smutty Beyoncé “Dance 4 You” type way but more of a ‘when you’re in church and see people get the Holy Ghost and jump, dance, run laps, etc’ type way. Feel me? In addition to the pageantry of it all, another staple of Day of the Dead are the vigils that can be found all over the place in remembrance of those who have passed away. Comprised of candles, pictures, letters, cards and favorite items of the honored person, these shrine-like structure are created to pay homage to the fallen person and serve as a reminder for those who look down from heaven that those they left behind haven’t forgotten about them. Wow. I know this may still sound creepy to some but for the third or fourth time, I think it’s pretty cool! I see no wrong in paying respects to those who’ve passed on and even less wrong in mourning in a constructive and respectful way. When we suffer a loss don’t we all mourn in some way or other? Some wear “RIP” tee shirts, some keep personal effects of the deceased and some take other avenues. No matter how you do it, as long as it brings you closure ain’t no shame in it!

All of this awesomeness combined with good music, free candy (those sugar skulls are awesome and super easy to make) and good food makes for an all out good time if you ask me! With that being said, if you find yourself on the island of Oahu tomorrow please join us at this month’s “Eat The Street” where the theme is one of my fav holidays: Dias de los Muertos! In addition to good eats, this mini celebration will feature contests with cash prizes as well as games for the kids. If you can’t make it out tomorrow “Eat The Street” is a traveling event held each month in a different area of the islands depending on the theme. Check in with Street Grindz or follow them on twitter at @streetgrindz to find where the food trucks will meet up next!

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