Mexicans in Tartu celebrate Dia de Muertos by opening exhibition

Dia de Muertos, the Mexican holiday for the Day of the Dead, was celebrated on November 2 in Tartu with the opening of an exhibition by Estonian artist Meiu Münt, who was inspired by a traditional Mexican song about death.

On Monday, a Mexican woman living in Tartu, her face covered in paint depicting the female form of death, sang a song for Dia de Muertos, that by chance ended up as insipiration for Estonian artist Meiu Münt a few years ago.

Münt, who has never been to Mexico and had no prior knowledge of the culture, was inspired to create an exhibition of her own paintings depicting death, ETV's daily affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported on Monday.

The artist said: "I happened upon a very beautiful video on Youtube. It later turned out that it was a well-known Mexican tradition and it was so gripping for me that it began developing from there. It was so beautiful for some reason, I had never heard anything like it."

The paintings mainly depict La Calavera Catrina, translated as "Elegant Skull". The inspiring song also speaks on the beauty of death.

A Mexican woman living in Tartu, Dalisa Camci, explained: "It represents this woman, which is the Catarina, the woman in the paintings. It is like the beauty of death, it is stylish, it is fresh, sort of sad but still has some sort of fun in it. Very beautiful and in Mexican culture, we always have it in our hearts."

Along with the exhibition, traditional Dia de Muertos customs were introduced. The celebrations, while similar in essence to All Souls' Day (Hingedepäev), are much more colorful than in Estonia.

Instead of placing candles on windows and gravesites, Mexicans create an altar for their dead. Monday's event in Tartu also saw an altar created.

"It is to remind us of the people that passed away and then it is a celebration because they come back home in this state. So we prepare the food that they like, we offer them some water for their walk home," Camci said.

Meiu Münt's exhibition is open for visitors in Tartu's Aparaaditehas in the store tARTu.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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