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There are many ways to brighten our lives with butterflies. Some communities have beautiful butterfly murals that do just that.
This lovely mural is located in South Norfolk, Virginia, (all murals in this article are located in the USA) and was painted by artist Chip Wilkinson.
You can find these Monarch butterflies on the side of Toni’s Market in the Phillips neighborhood of southside Minneapolis.
“Monarch Magic” depicts the Monarch butterflies that overwinter in a strand of eucalyptus trees on South Vandenberg Air Force Base. You can see it on a stroll through Old Town Lompoc, California.
This beautiful mural is located at Candlelight Ranch near Austin, Texas. Candlelight Ranch provides therapeutic and educational nature-based experiences to enrich the lives of at-risk youth and children with disabilities.
Sometimes murals have a story. “The Butterfly Effect: Dreams Take Flight,” depicts life in Joplin, Missouri both before and after the devastating tornados of 2011. It was inspired by the stories of young survivors who said that they saw butterfly people who protected them from the storm.
A mural can also be political such as this one, which is intended as a show of support of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s campaign to protect their water and sacred grounds from the Dakota Access Pipeline. In addition to the threat to people, water and sacred places, the Dakota Access Pipeline could also kill the Dakota Skipper (Hesperia dacotae) a rare prairie butterfly protected under the Endangered Species Act.
Some murals carry a message of love and hope such as this beautiful artwork in Newark, New Jersey.
The Monarch butterfly in this mural, located at the Cecil Williams Glide Community House in San Francisco is a symbol of hope for homeless families and individuals, and people recovering from addiction, where they receive support services.
In Mexico, Monarch butterflies are beginning to arrive this week in their over-wintering sites as people prepare for Day of the Dead celebrations.
Celebrations for Día De Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, officially start November 1 and end November 2, the actual Day of the Dead. However, this popular Mexican holiday can start as early as Halloween. The festival honors the lives of deceased ancestors and coincides with All Saints Day and All Souls Day–Catholic holidays dedicated to honoring the saints of the church and those who have died, but who have not yet gone to heaven, respectively.
Day of the Dead is not about being scared of the supernatural, but rather about remembering the spirits of their loved ones.
Rather than dressing in all black and mourning the passing of loved ones, Día De Los Muertos becomes a colorful and vibrant national remembrance of the lives of deceased relatives and friends.
While most people who recognize the international holiday decorate their homes and grave sites of their ancestors with altars, relics, candles, foods, and drinks favored by the deceased; many cities will join in on the festivities by hosting parades, community-wide ceremonies and street parties.
In Michoacán, Mexico, Día de los Muertos, takes on an even more interesting aspect. According to traditional belief among Michoacán’s Mazahuas indigenous community, Monarch butterflies are souls of ancestors who return to Earth for their annual visit.
The video below, “Muerte Es Vida” (Death is Life), follows a family from Michoacán’s Mazahuas indigenous community as they celebrate Day of the Dead. Native peoples explain how the Monarch butterflies always return a few days before the celebrations begin. Children were taught to set out water to welcome the butterflies because they were tired and thirsty from their travels.
Whether you live in Mexico or elsewhere, you can join in the Day of the Dead celebration by sharing these stories with your children and grandchildren and by downloading the information sheet below.