Day of the Dead, “Dia de los Muertos,” is a time of celebration introduced from Mexican traditions. The observance of Day of the Dead goes back to the Pre-Columbian era of the indigenous peoples of Mexico. They believed that the souls of the dead returned to visit living relatives. They started the traditions of community festivals to welcome back the departed with food and drink, processions and alters to honor the dead.
Now the festivities are based on keeping alive the memories of our deceased loved ones. Public celebrations are festive and often include parades, partying to music and celebrating with food and drink. Families celebrate in a more personal way, making alters carefully decorated with candles, flowers, favorite food and drinks carefully decorated to honor the deceased.
Normally extended over the first two days of November, the traditional belief is that on these days the spirits of the dead return to visit us. The first day of the festival is for the ghosts of children; the second day is for spirits of adults.
In Seattle and Tacoma, there are a number of entertaining and educational activities offered for the entire family to explore the history and culture of Day of the Dead. Three of the outstanding venues include Phinney Neighborhood Association, Seattle Center and Tacoma Arts Museum.
Phinney Neighborhood Association: ” Dia de los Muertos Celebration”
Date: November 5, 2010
Activities: Traditional Mexican celebration of life and death, family-centered festive events with candlelit procession, community altar, live music, Mexican chocolate and sugar skulls. (Funded in part with grant contributions from the City of Seattle Office of Arts and Culture and the Washington State Arts Commission.)
Location: 6532 Phinney Ave. N., Seattle, WA 98103
Contact: Go here to the Website or call at 206-783-2244.
Seattle Center: “Dia de Muerto – A Mexican Remembrance to Remember Our Departed”
Activities: Traditional community altars, sugar skulls, sand painting, special foods, candles, processions, music and dance.
Dates: October 30, 2010, Noon – 8 p.m.; October 31, 2010, Noon – 6 p.m.
Location: Seattle Center, Center House, 305 Harrison Street, Seattle, WA 98109
Contact: Produced by Taller Mexicano para la Cultura y las Artes. For more information go here.
Tacoma Art Museum: “Dia de los Muertos”
Exhibit Installation: October 23, 2010; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fulgencio Lazio and his team will create a large tapete, or sand painting, in the museum’s lobby. School and community groups and individuals will install themed altars honoring important concepts, events, and loved ones on the atrium, all of which will remain on view through the community festival, Nov.7. Admission is regular museum fees.
The Artisty of the Tapete: October 30, 2010; 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Create brightly colored tapetes (sand paintings); $40 general public or $30 for TAM members. (Pre-registration required.)
Community Festival: November 7, 2010; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Art-making, performances, and exhibitions of a tapete (sand painting) and community altars as we honoring the cycle of life. Admission is free.
Location: 1701 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma, WA 98402
Contact: Go here for the Website or call 253-272-4258
Phinney Neighborhood Association: Website
Seattle Center: Website
Tacoma Art Museum: Website