Home
Field Notes
 
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Monarch Butterflies and Day of the Dead
Midwest Region, November 4, 2017
Print Friendly Version
USFWS’s Adriana Fernandez tells the monarch migration Legend of the Parakata
USFWS’s Adriana Fernandez tells the monarch migration Legend of the Parakata - Photo Credit: Elsa Lopez, Program Coordinator for Casa Michoacán
La Ronda Parakata, a gathering space in the Burnham Wildlife Corridor (Chicago)
La Ronda Parakata, a gathering space in the Burnham Wildlife Corridor (Chicago) - Photo Credit: FWS Louise Clemency

By Adriana Fernandez

 On November 4, Casa Michoacán hosted the Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) event. The event was originally planned to take place in La Ronda Parakata, a gathering space in the Burnham Wildlife Corridor (Chicago). This gathering space consists of a circular structure in the form of interlocking butterflies which can be found in the middle of a beautiful restored prairie near Lake Michigan. In the center of the gathering space, there is a small native garden surrounded by chopped tree logs that have been repurposed as rustic seating. “Parakata” means “butterfly” in Purépecha, an indigenous group from Michoacán, Mexico. Monarch butterflies are very special to the Purépecha; they represent the souls of their loved ones that are coming back to visit on Day of the Dead, which coincides with the arrival of the monarch butterfly to their wintering site in Mexico.

Due to the rainy weather, the event was moved to Casa Michoacán, located in the Mexican neighborhood known as Pilsen. Casa Michoacán is a local organization that provides services and education to empower the community. They celebrate their culture by providing an array of activities to their members and by keeping their traditions alive. At the event, you could see children, adults and elders side by side, learning about the Day of the Dead traditions while eating delicious tamales and Day of Dead bread with coffee. The events included molding metal string into butterflies similar to those of La Ronda Parakata (conducted by renowned local artist Hector Duarte), puppet story telling and building your own mini Day of the Dead altar (directed by Patricia Carlos Domínguez), and a fun and interactive presentation of the children’s book “The Legend of the Parakata” by Fish & Wildlife Service contractor, Adriana Fernández. “The Legend of the Parakata” is a story based on a mexican legend that talks about how the monarchs made their way to Michoacán, Mexico and it incorporates the Purépecha culture. Afterwards, local jarocho band, Jarochicanos, delighted the attendees with an original song based on “The Legend of the Parakata”; they also performed other classic songs that made everyone get up and dance. It was a beautiful event that connected the community to nature, culture and art.

This event was done in partnership through the Roots & Routes Initiative with the Chicago Park District, Casa Michoacán, and The Field Museum.


Contact Info: Louise Clemency, 847-381-2253, louise_clemency@fws.gov
Find a Field Notes Entry

Search by keyword

Search by State




Search by Region


US Fish and Wildlife Service footer