Disney•Pixar’s Coco

  Family history is important to me. As someone who is of mixed heritage, knowing my roots from both sides of my family has been a life-long journey. My father's side is African-American via the West Indies (Trinidad) and my mom's side is Mexican-American.

 As a military brat, I was born in Puerto Rico, then we moved to Hawaii. When we came to California we lived with my mom's Latino family. We were introduced to the language, food, music and traditions. It is a beautifully rich culture and one I am proud to share with my children and my husband.

 My husband is a first-generation Korean-American born and raised in New York. Together we bring tons of culture to our 4 children. Throughout the years we have shared each other's cultures and traditions. From the Korean tradition of celebrating a child's 100 days of life to their 1st birthday or tol to the Latino tradition of 3 Kings and dia de los muertos, our children get to experience it all.

So you can imagine how excited I am to see that Disney•Pixar has an upcoming feature called Coco.

"Despite his family’s baffling generations-old ban on music, Miguel (voice of newcomer Anthony Gonzalez) dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz (voice of Benjamin Bratt). Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel finds himself in the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead following a mysterious chain of events. Along the way, he meets charming trickster Hector (voice of Gael García Bernal), and together, they set off on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel's family history."


Anytime my children (and multicultural children like them) can see their culture and history reflected on tv and in movies, is a win. I am happy to see Disney•Pixar’s Coco bring Dia de los muertos to life.
Although dia de los muertos is sometimes misunderstood and thought to be scary, it's really quite a beautiful tradition.
It's a where one remembers those that have passed away. It is a way to continue to honor our ancestors and share their story with new generations.  Day of the Dead dates back thousands of years when the Aztecs would honor a goddess that had passed away.
Today, it is a day to celebrate, remember, honor and prepare special foods of those who have departed. On November 1, in Mexico and in parts of the U.S, cemeteries are filled with decorations of papel picado (colorful tissue or crepe paper garlands with intricate, festive designs), flowers, candy calaveras (skeletons and skulls), and ofrenda (“the offering”, a table or altar decorated to hold the offerings of food and drink for the weary spirit guests).
As we approach Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) my family will start to build altars of our loved ones that have passed away: Raul, Big Papa, haraboji (Korean for grandfather) and sadly this year we add our beloved Mema Lu who passed away after battling cancer the beginning of this year.
We will decorate the altar with their photos and things that they loved. 
Although death is one of the hardest subjects to broach with young children, especially when you’re struggling to deal with your own sorrow, I have found comfort in preparing our home for dia de los muertos. We made it a festive, not somber, occasion to remember them, talk about them and celebrate their lives. 
We will wear our festive clothes, prepare pan de los muertos (bread of the dead) and invite family and friends over. There are songs, sayings, and poems that are popular on day of the dead. We will do a take on this and personalize it by writing our own poems, drawing pictures or coloring pages for them.
I know death is a part of life and I'm thankful to share the Latino culture of Dia de los muertos with my children. I'm so happy to see Disney bring our tradition into the mainstream with the story of Coco. It helps. It all helps.




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