Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, isn’t anything like Halloween, despite skulls being involved with the holiday. It’s a three-day celebration that originated in central and southern Mexico …
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Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, isn’t anything like Halloween, despite skulls being involved with the holiday. It’s a three-day celebration that originated in central and southern Mexico as a way to celebrate the passing of loved ones. Those who celebrate the holiday believe that the souls of deceased children come back from their resting at midnight on Oct. 31, and then reunite with their families on Nov. 1. The following day, deceased adults come visit their loved ones on Nov. 2.
Families who celebrate the holiday make one-of-a-kind altars that honor their loved ones who have passed. Those altars are decorated with pictures of the deceased whom the altar is dedicated to, that person’s favorite food, poems and more.
Other traditions include using sugar skulls to decorate gravestones of the deceased and spending time at the cemetery where families will eat, play music and sometimes spend the night to celebrate their loved ones.
“It’s the idea that death is a part of life. We think it’s a continuous cycle,” Ramon Del Castillo said. Castillo is a professor and chair of the Chicana/o Studies Department at Metropolitan State University of Denver. “It’s a calling upon the spirits to come and be with us and to celebrate with them in some spiritual way.”
The metro area has events dedicated to Día de los Muertos coming up that honor the holiday. Here are three:
Día de los Muertos Celebration at 40 West Arts:
Where: 1560 Teller St.
When: Nov. 2 from 5 to 9 p.m.
In conjunction with the art district’s first Friday, 40 West will hold a Día de los Muertos celebration. Wine and beer will be available for guests to enjoy as they eat food from a local food truck. Aztec dancers will be performing in traditional costumers while fire artists will hand-spin fire. All of the art district’s galleries, studios and businesses will also be available, and there will be exhibits that are inspired by Día de los Muertos. The event is child- and family-friendly.
“There are great things happening here on West Colfax, and it’s not the same as it was 10 years ago. Come and visit us, West Colfax is back,” said Bill Marino, 40 West board chair and business improvement district director.
Día de los Muertos celebration at Cerveceria Colorado:
Where: 1635 Platte St.
When: Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Nov. 2 from 11 a.m. to midnight
Cost: Sugar skulls can be purchased for $10, and the skulls include a free beer.
Cerveceria Colorado, a craft-beer bar that serves Mexican-style beers, is aiming to educate the community about what Día de los Muertos is all about. The bar will offer sugar skull painting, and the skulls that its guests paint will be added to a collage or altar to celebrate life and the community. It will also be tapping its Marigold Venga to pair with food trucks. On Nov. 2, the bar will have live, festive music.
“Our bartenders are going to be educating about what the Day of the Dead is. We have awesome, Mexican inspired beers. We’re very excited, and we want everybody to be here,” said Maria Valenzuela, a marketing associate at Cerveceria Colorado.
Día de los Muertos Celebration at Denver Botanic Gardens:
Where: 1007 York St.
When: Nov. 3 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cost: Free gardens and event admission
Denver Botanic Gardens’ Día de los Muertos Celebration happens to fall on one of its free days. The gardens is encouraging its guests to dress in Día de los Muertos costumes as it prepares for its eighth year of celebrating the holiday. There will be face painting, children’s crafts, sugar skull decorating, local art, cultural entertainment, a costume contest, food and more. Depending on the weather, the venue plants to host Lucha Libre wrestling and live art demonstrations.
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