Local cafe celebrates Day of Dead with display

On Nov. 2, some establishments incorporate Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, decorations and paraphernalia into their businesses.

Most Dia de los Muertos decorations include an altar that displays pictures of deceased loved ones, Mexican marigolds, candles, fruit, bread and incense.

Cafe Bolivar, a local, Latin-inspired restaurant, located on 1741 Ocean Park Blvd. arranges a Dia de los Muertos altar every year.

The restaurant, which has been in business for 12 years, is owned by Jose Carvajal, who has made an altar every year since.

Café Bolivar serves Latin-inspired dishes mainly focused on Venezuelan and other South American fare, such as arepas.

Carvajal developed the idea from traveling to Oaxaca, Mexico during his college years, where we learned many Oaxacan traditions, such as designing altars. He became close friends with the Oaxacan community in Los Angeles.

"This is one of the strong traditions in the Oaxacan community," Carvajal says. "I wanted to become adapted in it."

Not only does Café Bolivar display an altar for Dia de los Muertos, but there is also original alebrijes, or papier-mâché artwork by Pedro Linares, who is a well-known Mexican artist. His career began as a figurine-maker for Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo and many other artists.

Linares was the creator of the papier-mâché figurines. There is also artwork on display from local artists. Some of the pieces at Café Bolivar are "La Catrina," or well-dressed woman, a popular female figurine. Also on display are, "El Chamuco," or devil and "La Kalaka," or skeleton.

The Dia de los Muertos altar at Café Bolivar obtains all of the traditional decorations, including photos of deceased celebrities, like musicians Amy Winehouse and Kurt Cobain.

"We want to give the community a chance to see the altar," Carvajal says.

Students who have not had a chance to view the altar or Dia de los Muertos figurines on display, can still do so. The altar will be on display through Nov. 14.

Lorena GarciaComment