Dia de los Muertos

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "COCO")

RENEE VICTOR: (As Abuelita) No music.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTORS: (As characters, singing in Spanish).

Pixar's newest animated movie, Coco, is meant to be a love letter to Mexico. The movie has a Latino cast. It's full of Mexican music, culture and folklore — including some of the traditions around the Day of the Dead. And it premiered in Mexico, where it's gone on to become the No. 1 film of all time. Now, audiences in the U.S. can see it.

Decorative sugar skulls line the front of the colorful, four-tiered altar. Cempasúchiles in bloom are scattered between painted skeletons, unlit candles and plates of food resting on pink papel picado, an intricately designed tissue paper.

Three banners hang above the display. In the center, La Catrina, the female skeletal figure that has become an icon for the occasion, is painted with a declaration: Día De Muertos. Day of the Dead.

Nan Palmero (CC BY 2.0) / Flickr http://bit.ly/2gR4XKf

Día De Los Muertos – also known as the "Day of the Dead" – is actually a multi-day tradition starting on Halloween, Oct. 31 and ending on All Soul's Day, Nov 2. 

Jack Morgan

An exhibition at the Institute of Texan Cultures honors those who have passed on. It's created by Artist David Zamora Casas, who definitely cuts a striking figure. When we met he was stylishly dressed, with a Salvador Dali-style mustache and wearing purple lipstick. His passion for detail shows also in his Time Before Memory exhibit.

"The installation I've created comes from my Rasquachismo aesthetic."

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