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Dia de los Accidentados
Dia de los Acidentados — 9/11 took place six weeks before Dia de los Muertos Celebration at El Museo del Barrio in New York. The Dia de los Muertos event had been planned six months in advance by two Mexican women living in East Harlem, Socorro and Anastasia. They had planted hundreds of zempazuchils (marigolds) in a community garden, and after the tragedy decided to dedicate their installation to those who had died in the 9/11 attacks. They titled the installation, “Dia de los Acidentados”. It took on the characteristic rituals of Dia de los Muertos.

Dia de los Muertos is a celebration of the return of loved ones who have passed away. Traditionally meals are prepared that include table settings with water and mole for those souls who made the long trip back. The room is decorated with bright orange flowers, fruit and sugar cane stalks. At El Museo hundreds of marigolds were stripped of their petals. The floor in front of the tables was lined with neatly laid out yellow petals leading from the elevator, making a path to the tables, so that dearly departed visitors could find their way to the food placed on the tables. Food on the tables was sorted depending on the age of those expected to return. One table was made up for the souls of the returning children. Here special candy, and fruit, along with small toys was placed to please the children’s souls. Coffee sweetened with sugar in pottery cups beckoned to the adult souls from separate tables where mole filled dishes.

School children participated by interacting with the festive spread, leaving notes to friends, family and victims of 9/11.