Nov. 13, 2014
John Villanueva | Staff Writer
Beautifully painted men and women competed for best Catrina designs in Riverside to celebrate Dia de los Muertos.
People flooded Ninth and Market Streets with decorative sugar skull face paintings to commemorate the dead on Nov 2.
Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead celebration, is a Mexican holiday where people from all cultures and backgrounds come to honor their deceased loved ones.
There were activities such as Aztec dancing, live music, children’s programs and the Catrina Pageant.
The pageant involves body and face painters, as well as costume designers who worked to come up with the most original and authentic face, body and costume design that illustrates the Mexican culture that is Dia de los Muertos.
Among the vendors was the face and body paint booth The Walking Sugar Skulls, a business that moves around the Inland Empire.
Artist Jeanette Evans of Marble Flesh helped The Walking Sugar Skulls to paint and enter pin-up model Rebeka Josoh into the Catrina Pageant.
“The world needs art, it’s the creativity that keeps the culture going,” Josoh said. “My background is Filipino, and to come here and celebrate the dead with The Walking Sugar Skulls and all the people here is a wonderful experience.”
Jennifer Ramos, manager and owner of The Walking Sugar Skulls, describes the event as being made for people to come together and cherish their lost and loved ones.
“I’ve never been to an event like this and it’s different,” said Jonathen Rivera, partner of Josoh. “I’m happy to be here with her.”
Evans started her business Marble Flesh in Fontana and has jumped from city to city for two and a half years.
“Since 2012 I’ve wanted to show my visions I see in my head,” Evans said.
“Everything, from color, choice, line work, and character is rooted from the way I feel. I express myself through my artwork and I was glad to have been a part of the Catrina Pageant and show the community my artwork.”
The cultural event was hosted by Division 9 Gallery, partnered with the Riverside Metropolitan Museum and Ballet Folklórico de Riverside and is held right after the Halloween holiday.
Members from the Norco Community College Anthropology club were first timers to the event and said that after being there for a couple hours they felt the impact of such a powerful culture.
“We are learning a lot about the culture,” said Edlin De Santiago, president of the NCC anthropology club. “We know that not all of the day of the dead events are like this, but just to see this aspect of it, it’s incredible, it’s amazing.”
Dia de los Muertos is upheld in the traditions within Mexican culture and will return to Riverside in the years to come.