Last month, I had the opportunity to tour the Pixar Campus and learn some fun facts about the upcoming film Coco and also about the holiday that inspires it, Dia de los Muertos. Dia de los Muertos has always fascinated me and I was excited to learn more about this holiday and how people use it as a day of remembrance for their family and friends who have passed. Specifically, I sat through a couple presentations including, “A Universal Story of Family” and “The Land of the Living and the Land of the Dead”.
What is Dia de los Muertos
Basically you have 3 days, October 31 (All Hallows Eve), November 1st (All Saints Day), ans November 2nd (All Souls Day). The three-day fiesta is filled with marigolds, the flowers of the dead; muertos (the bread of the dead); sugar skulls; cardboard skeletons; tissue paper decorations; fruit and nuts; incense, and other traditional foods and decorations. It’s a day where the souls of your loved ones can come back to the land of the living and reunite with their family.
Perhaps the biggest misconception is that Dia de los Muertos is Halloween or is related to Halloween. I know personally I learned quite a lot about the holiday through what I was able to see in the film. I’m glad that Pixar and Disney decided to make a “love letter to Mexico” and showcase the beautiful country, the scenary, the people, their traditions, and their music.
Now let’s get to some more fun facts about the History of Dia de los Muertos:
Ofrenda in spanish mean “offering”. An altar or Ofrenda is created with pictures of your loved ones. The food and drinks they liked are also put out. It’s basically an offering of things that they liked and enjoyed.
Marigolds and Candles
Marigolds are also important. How? They are a symbol of connection between the generations. Which is why often you will see a path of marigold petals leading from the cemetery all the way back to the ofrenda. The pathway shows the souls how to get back to their loved ones. I’ve always been a fan of marigolds (my grandmother had a garden of them) Now they have an even larger meaning to me.
Candles are equally as important because they light the way of the path.
With every single PIXAR release you know that it’s going to both be visually stunning and it’s going to make you cry. Let’s chat about the visuals for a second and go a bit behind the scenes to creating the world(s) of Coco. Pretty simply you have The Land of The Living and The Land of the Dead. Immediately you can see from the colors, shapes, architecture of both where you are. For instance here is some concept art from from the Land of the Living:
Obviously there are no skeletons (check back soon for more info about the significance of skeletons), the background colors are more muted and warm. Whereas when you look at The Land of the Dead:
Whereas when you look at The Land of the Dead you see lots of architecture continuing to build up and go vertical. If you look really close in the final film you will even see skulls hidden in the Land of the Dead. The colors are brighter. They pop. Last, but not least the Land of the Dead was inspired by the artist, Jose Guadalupe Posada.
As you can see Disney and PIXAR went to great lengths to insure that the history was right, the story was right, the visuals are off the charts, and when it all comes together will be another heartfelt film. I can’t wait to see the movie on Thanksgiving!
***Disclosure: I attended the #PixarCocoEvent My flight, lodgings, and expenses were covered by Disney All opinions are 100% mine. ***