BayLUG’s Dia De Los Muertos Display inspired by Disney’s Coco:

BayLUG is pleased to present our collaborative Dia De Los Muertos display inspired by Disney’s animated film Coco. The display features a Mexican village with traditional houses, shops, and plaza spaces, with a cemetery to honor the dead. From the graveyard, a marigold rose petal bridge connects the town of the living to the city of the dead. The city of the dead contains a multitude of colorful buildings and whimsical scenes to house the dead that are remembered by the living. Come enjoy the detailed build put together by BayLUG members in celebration of this holiday. 

About Dia De Los Muertos

Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead (also called Día[s] de Muertos or Día[s] de los Muertos), is traditionally celebrated on November 1 and 2. Originating in Mexico, it is celebrated there and anywhere people of Mexican heritage reside. It is associated with the All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day holidays in the Catholic church but incorporates traditions from native Mexican cultures as well. Unlike those solemn holidays or the fright celebration of Halloween, Día de los Muertos is a joyful holiday rather than a day of mourning, where family and friends gather to remember and pay respects to those who have died.

People celebrating the holiday build ofrendas, home altars featuring photographs of the deceased, their favorite foods, flowers, etc. They often visit cemeteries where loved ones are buried. Parades, parties, and other celebrations are also common. For Mexicans who in the 20th and 21st centuries often move away from the towns where they were born, moving to cities or other countries in search of work and prosperity, they may not be able to visit the cemeteries or loved ones they left behind. Celebrating the holiday provides one way to feel connected to their heritage.

Altar dedicado para Dolores Olmedo at Ofrenda Museo Dolores Olmedo – Credit to the Dolores Olmedo Museum

In the 1930s, Mexican President Lázaro Cárdenas promoted the holiday as an effort to build the Mexican national identity, and it has become much more popular in recent decades during the late 20th and early 21st centuries. In 2015, the James Bond movie Spectre opened on a Day of the Dead parade in Mexico City, which was staged for the film – in fact, no such parade took place at that time but after the film was released, it has become an annual tradition.

Dia De Los Muertos Parade – Credit to Diego Grandi/Shutterstock

About Coco

The movie Coco, from Disney Pixar, came out in 2017 and was inspired by the Día de los Muertos tradition. It featured a young boy named Miguel who wants to be a musician like his great-great-grandfather, despite his family’s wishes. During the holiday there is a magical spiritual bridge that opens every year between the Land of the Dead and the Land of the Living, when the dead people return to their hometowns to receive gifts from the living who remembered them on their ofrendas, but of course the living cannot see them. Miguel is magically transported to the side of the dead, where he embarks on a quest to gain a blessing from a dead member of his family and return to the Land of the Living. Hijinks ensue and you have to watch the movie to find out how it goes!

Miguel and the City of the Dead – Credit to Disney / Pixar

Coco was praised for its respect for Mexican culture, and featured an all-Latino cast (except for keeping the Pixar tradition of having John Ratzenberger voice a character, but he only had one word in the film). The initial theatrical release was held in Mexico the weekend before Día de los Muertos, 2017, followed by a release in the USA a few weeks later. The film received numerous accolades and two Academy awards.

As the movie Coco is a major source of information about the holiday among non-Mexicans in the U.S., it provides a good visual language to build our exhibit around. We feature a Mexican town, the City of the Dead, and a marigold bridge between them, inspired by but not directly depicting the story of the film.

Miguel walking across the marigold bridge to the City of the Dead – Credit to Disney / Pixar

About BayLUG

BayLUG is the San Francisco Bay Area LEGO® User’s Group, a group of enthusiasts dedicated to designing & building LEGO® creations and sharing the hobby with members of the community. The club typically holds at least one meetings and/or participates in a show show every month of the year, and sponsor and participate in a variety of LEGO® events.

The club was founded on October 10, 1998, when several Bay Area LEGO fans attended the LEGO 25th Anniversary Traveling Truck Tour in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. The club started holding meetings in May 1999. Over the years the club has participated in numerous model railroad shows (as BayLTC, the Bay Area L-Gauge Train Club), Maker Faires, and holds an annual show every November through January in Palo Alto. Bricks by the Bay was founded by and is largely run by members of BayLUG, and BayLUG is a sponsor of the convention and has participated in the BBTB every year since it started.

You can become a BayLUG member by going to the website and submitting a membership form.