Day of the Dead is about celebrating traditions

By Luis E. Cisneros Pito
Arts and Entertainment Editor

The Rochester Art Center hosted a three-day event commemorating The Day of the Dead tradition celebrated in Central and South American countries. (Echo Photo by Luis E. Cisneros Pito)

El Dia de los Muertos is a celebrated tradition in Mexico and other southern American countries, but this a celebration extended to one’s back yard.

On Nov. 3 through Nov. 5, Rochester Art Center hosted the variety of events at their grand lobby with the theme and reverence of this celebration. The event was free for anyone who wanted to come and celebrate, though donations were much appreciated.

The three-day extravaganza had a little bit of for everyone from face painting and youth poetry on Nov. 3 to the Day of the Dead Poet Slam on Nov. 5. The variety of activities and events where just a few of the things to experience this year.

Artists from local areas and from a diverse group were able to demonstrate their take on a Day of the Dead altar, ranging from traditional to modern and symbolistic. Bobby Marines, Karla Giguere, Teaki Garcia, Amara Vernocke, Daniel Solis, Angela McHugh and myself created altars for the event and for the public to enjoy.

The altars were displayed in the grand lobby of the Rochester Art Center throughout the room giving people the chance to see something new around every corner. It was a memorable experience learning and experiencing how a day for reverence and remembrance is viewed and experienced by others.

The celebration, while only a few days in duration, was able to convey the importance of the holiday across the world, and the significance it has for people. The Day of the Dead Poet Slam event was able to convey how it is a remembrance and celebration of people’s lives and the gifts they leave everyone such as memories, scars, tears, and laughs.

Remembering those who contributed to people’s life’s and celebrating the twist and turns of life was one of the most important things the event brought to the community. Artist and the community were able to enjoy the fruit of labor from many talented and nurturing hands and support.

The event was a collaboration of a variety of community organizations such as the Rochester Diversity Council and the Rochester Art Ensemble.

It was also in part supported through a grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council in gratitude from an Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

This community event also was made possible through the hard work of community members such as Angela McHugh, McKay Bram, and Daniel Solis. They made a dream into a reality through long arduous hours of planning, designing and assisting artist and staff.