Jennifer Nguyen, Sociology, BMC ‘22

This photograph is of the Dia de Los Muertos Parade going through Broad St. in South Philadelphia. The parade was one of the highlights of the day for me. I remember entering the parade right as we left Alma del Mar, where we enjoyed some fresh seafood tacos and heard from Mexican American business owners on their experiences migrating to and living in South Philadelphia. Up until the point of the parade, I felt like we were outsiders looking into a window of what life is like in South Philadelphia for the day. Walking in the parade, much like the people in this image, we became part of the community and celebrated alongside them throughout the day.

In class we discussed the difficulties of migrants building a new home for themselves in a foreign country with little to no connections to their family and culture. The significance of the Dia de Los Muertos parade in South Philadelphia for the Mexican American community was felt by all who were there to celebrate. In this photo, there is a man dressed in a skeleton costume biking with a float of “La Catrina,” surrounded by the traditional marigold flowers that were found all over Broad Street that day. Walking close to the float are people from the neighborhood in normal dress. I think this is a perfect representation of creating a sense of “home” in a new place. Members of the community put in effort to find the resources dress up in cultural gear and recreate symbols of culture for Dia de los Muertos, the “normal” parade participants were welcomed to walk all the same- there is no right or wrong way to celebrate the day other than being there and enjoying the festivities.

Professor Montes mentioned in class that this year’s parade was the largest one to date in Philadelphia. Though Philadelphia does not have the largest population of Mexican migrants and is not one of the major migration points for Mexican Americans, the community here in South Philadelphia has a strong sense of closeness and welcoming that makes this place feel like home- even to a bunch of college students visiting for the day from Bryn Mawr.