Culture

This Día De Muertos Themed Amusement Park Is Next Level ‘Coco’ And I Want To Go

Just like a scene in the movie Coco, imagine neon lights, skulls, candy, cempasúchil, Catrinas and Catrines, ofrendas and lots of rides and rollercoasters. Day of The Dead is a huge celebration, and some think that it shouldn’t be exclusive to cemeteries and plazas. This vision of a Mexican-insired ‘inframundo’ is actually a real theme park in Mexico. Here’s everything you need to know about Calaverandia. 

‘Calaverandia’ takes visitors through an immersive experience inspired by the ancient Aztec’s take on the underworld.

Like a tour of the underworld, Calaverandia, is a theme park that takes visitors through the Aztec netherworld of Mictlan. The park is open to visitors this year again, after its initial inaugural run in 2018.  “We’re very proud that Calaverandia was a success last year,” said the park’s creative director, Marcos Jiménez. “We have big plans for growth.”

Located in Jalisco, the Day of The Dead theme park is packed with ofrendas, rides and music.

Located in Guadalajara —a city known for tequila and mariachi music— this year’s Day of the Dead theme park Calaverandia will feature over 30 attractions, including immersive tours through the underworld, exhibitions of altars and decorated skulls, live music, a neon lights area, ball pits and more.

The park’s main showpiece ‘El Inframundo’, or The Underworld, was expanded 50% over last year due to its success.

The immersive experience takes visitors through the Aztec netherworld of Mictlán. In Aztec and Mayan mythology, the underworld (Xibalba for the Mayams and Mictlan for the Aztecs) played an important role in everyday life. According to these ancient peoples’ beliefs, death was closely incorporated into the world of the living and death is evident in almost every aspect of Aztec and Mayan philosophy, culture and tradition.

According to ancient Aztec mythology; after death, souls had to endure a long journey through Mictlan.

Mictlantecuhtli is the Aztec god of the dead, and next to his wife, Mictecacíhuatl, he ruled Mictlan, the underworld. According to their beliefs, Mictlan consists of nine distinct levels. The journey from the first level to the ninth is difficult and would take four years to complete. The dead must overcome many challenges, but the gods bestowed them with a guide, the psychopomp Xolotl — a Xoloiscuintle dog, who got his own role in Disney’s Coco as Dante.

‘Calaverandia’ is an adventure-filled ‘skull land’ that takes visitors through Mictlan-worthy journeys across the netherworld.

The theme park features a 4-D show called Alma, which will tell the ancient history of the Day of the Dead traditions. There will also be a seven-meter-tall alebrije statue, photography areas, themed characters, videomapping and Catrina shows, canoe tours and cultural games for the kids. The interactive cemetery has also been expanded to include activities for children, and there will be lots of traditional Mexican delights in the food court.

To top off the experience, there will be mariachi and lots of traditional Mexican food.

A mariachi band will play traditional songs every hour at the park’s main altar to the dead, and will perform tributes to famous Mexican singers who have now passed away, such as Juan Gabriel —and more recently, José José.

‘Calaverandia’ has been well-received by the public and organizers are expecting a surge in attendance this year.

Last year’s park saw around 3,000 visitors a day — about 40,000 in total, but the organizers are expecting that number to rise to 4,000 daily visitors this year, so they have extended the hours park’s opening hours of from 7:00pm-12:00am Sunday to Thursday, and 7:00pm-1:00am on Saturday.

Calaverandia will run from Friday, October 25 to Monday, November 18 —the only Monday on which it will open. Tickets cost 255 pesos (US $13) for children and 595 pesos for adults; VIP options are available.

The park might be coming to LA in the near future.

After being received with such positive feedback from visitors and seeing the park’s growing popularity in Guadalajara, ‘Calaverandia’ creators have big plans for the years ahead. “We’ve been asked to organize a Calaverandia in Los Angeles in 2021, and we have spoken with people in Chicago and even Madrid,” said the park’s creative director, Marcos Jiménez. “We’re in a really cool process of growth.”

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Barbie Is Doing Día De Muertos Once Again In 2020 And Twitter Has Something To Say About It

Culture

Barbie Is Doing Día De Muertos Once Again In 2020 And Twitter Has Something To Say About It

Barbie / Mattel, Inc

Mexico’s famed Día de Muertos celebrations are coming up, the time of year when families honor their dead relatives with ofrendas, parades, visits to cemeteries, and many other festivities.

And, of course, Barbie wasn’t going to miss out on the celebrations.

Mattel – which makes Barbie – has just launched a new Barbie Catrina that is much more festive and colorful than the first one last year, who was dressed in black.

On this occasion, Mattel worked with Mexican-American designer Javier Meabe who wanted to reflect the joy and deep-rooted traditions of the country.

“As a Mexican-American designer, it was important for me to use my creative voice to design a doll that celebrates the bright colors and vivid textures of my culture, as well as the traditions I grew up with that are represented and celebrated in Barbie,” Meaba said in a statement from Mattel. 

Although, Mattel has enlisted the designs of a Mexican-American designer, not everyone is pleased with the launch. Some are worried that the entire Día de Muertos collection is potentially watering down a 3,000-year-old tradition and are accusing Barbie of cultural appropriation.

Barbie is releasing its second Día de Muertos doll and it’s generating plenty of buzz.

For the second year in a row, Mattel is launching a Día de Muertos Barbie modeled after the traditions of Mexico’s famed celebrations.

“We often look at different ways to continue to engage girls and families to gain knowledge and celebrate other cultures and other parts of the world,” Michelle Chidoni, a spokeswoman for the company, said. “Our hope is for this Día de Muertos Barbie to honor the holiday for the millions that celebrate and to introduce people not familiar with the tradition to the rich meaning.”

This year’s doll was designed by Mexican American designer Javier Meabe who was inspired by his personal background and family traditions.

“It was very important that the second Dia De Muertos doll felt just as special as the first in the Barbie series,” said Meabe in a statement. “As a Mexican American Designer, it was important to me to use my creative voice to design a doll that celebrates the bright colors and vivid textures of my culture, as well, as have the traditions I grew up with represented and celebrated in Barbie.”

He continued, “For this doll, I was inspired by the color gold seen throughout Mexican culture, jewelry, buildings, statues and artwork and highlighted it throughout the design. The roses represent emotions and moments in life including celebrations, birth, death, passion, and love and I also was inspired to introduce new textures and a new dress silhouette.”

Barbie lovers can buy the doll for $75 on the company’s website or at mass retailers such as Amazon, Target and Walmart.

Last year marked the first time Barbie celebrated the iconic Mexican holiday.

Credit: Barbie / Mattel, Inc

Last year, Mattel released the first Barbie doll celebrating the Mexican holiday Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead), and it was a huge hit. The floral dress and headpiece on the doll combined with the traditional calavara makeup design was absolutely stunning, and the same can be said about the 2020 version that just launched.

This time around, the Barbie Dia de Muertos doll features a light, blush-colored lace dress over a layer embroidered with floral and skeleton accents. The intricacy of the makeup has been taken up a notch, and the “golden highlights in her hair shimmer beneath a crown of skeleton hands holding roses and marigolds.”

However, since last year many have been questioning the intentions of Barbie and whether or not this is a good move.

In Mexican culture, the Día de Muertos — or Day of the Dead — is when the gateway between the living and the dead is said to open, a holiday during which the living honor and pay respects to loved ones who have died.

The new Día de Muertos Barbie was intended less as a portal into the realm of the dead and more as a gateway into Mexican culture. At least that is what Mattel is hoping for.

However, not everyone agrees. Latinx Twitter has lit up with both excitement and anger, with some folks appreciating the design while others are calling Mattel out for cultural appropriation. The Día de Muertos doll is another way Latinx culture is slowly entering the mainstream. With acclaimed shows like Vida and One Day at a Time and movies like Coco and Roma winning accolades — it seems even a toy company is looking to capitalize on Latinx culture

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Kellogg’s Has Launched A Pan De Muerto Cereal And Here’s Why It’s Such A Big Deal

Culture

Kellogg’s Has Launched A Pan De Muerto Cereal And Here’s Why It’s Such A Big Deal

Omgitsjustintime / Instagram

Mexico has several deeply rooted traditions. Among them is the annual ritual of celebrating those who are no longer on Earth, known as Día de Muertos. During this celebration, people consume sugar skulls, an altar – or ofrenda – is decorated with the favorite items and foods of the deceased’s, and pan de muerto is widely eaten.

Across Mexico, there is a flurry of activity and traditions leading up to the main celebrations on November 1 and 2 and it’s become an international attraction – attracting foreigners who travel to Mexico in order to witness the celebrations.

The Coronavirus pandemic has people looking for some sense of normalcy and that may explain why you can already find pan de muerto in several panaderías and super markets. However, what caused fury among users of social networks was the launch of a cereal line inspired by the humble pan de muerto.

Kellogg’s has launched a pan de muerto cereal and social media is celebrating this big news.

What would Mexico be without its traditions? For example, without the Day of the Dead. Around the world, Mexico is connected to this day that revolves around serious traditions, rituals, and foods.

Now, it appears that international brands are catching on as Kellogg’s (yes, the international cereal company) announced that it’s decided to create and launch a line of cereals based on Mexico’s famed pan de muerto.

The new cereal by Kellogg’s has already landed in certain stores and includes the flavors of rollos de canela, churros and pan de muerto. On the packaging you can see the new labeling and ingredients such as orange blossom, butter and vanilla.

The origins of pan de muerto are deeply rooted in pre-Hispanic history.

Credit: thatgaygringo / Instagram

Pan de muerto is a type of pan dulce that’s commonly eaten in the weeks (or even months) leading up to the now famous holiday of Día de Muertos. It traces its origina back to the time of the Spanish Conquest, inspired by pre-Hispanic rituals that were largely modified under Spanish colonialism.

The delicious pan is a butter-based bread with orange blossom and anise scents, it has a soft flaky brioche-like interior; the crust is thin and golden and many people love the “bones and skull” pieces because they get a little crispy on the outside.

Although the cereal does have people asking – is this cultural appropriation?

As soon as the product hit shelves, it ignited a debate on the issue of cultural appropriation. Many accused the multinational of seeking to profit on the backs of one of Mexico’s most respected and prized traditions. Many pointed out that food is deeply connected to tradition and it’s a cultural symbol that should be respected – not packaged up for commercialization.

However, even if some are against the product launch, it’s too little too late as boxes of the new cereals are already hitting store shelves across the country. In fact, many Internet users are taking to social media to highlight new finds and to share the information so others can get in on the frenzy and give the new product a try.

Not everyone understood the excitement for a cereal…

Although the launch by Kellogg’s of this iconic food as a cereal caused much of social media to lose its cool, not everyone was convinced. Many expressed how confused they were that people were freaking out over a cereal…

While others were ready to spend all the money they have…

This Twitter user was so excited they’re ready to give up all their money for the cereal, saying “Take all my money!” Thankfully, they don’t have to give up all their pesos for a box – with it going for about $63 pesos (or about $3 USD) per box.

So what do you think? Should this product come to the U.S.? Would you be excited to give it a try? Or is it blatant cultural appropriation?

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