On September 30th, Petaluma Arts Center kicked off their eleventh annual observance of Dia de Los Muertos with “When the Souls Return/Cuando Los Muertos Regresan”, presented by Theatrical Souls.
El Dia de Los Muertos – the Day of the Dead – is celebrated in Mexico on November 1st and 2nd. This Mexican National Holiday exists to honor loved ones who have died and to acknowledge death as a part of life. The day is celebrated with traditions like building altars to honor the dead using the sugar skulls famously connected with the holiday, as well as marigolds and the favorite foods and beverages of the deceased. Participants may also visit the graves of loved ones with these mementos as gifts.
Unlike Halloween, to which Americans are tempted to compare Day of the Dead, the Mexican holiday celebrates death and the lives of those who have been lost. While Halloween presents morbid images of death and promotes the idea of death and dying as something to be feared and repelled, Day of the Dead sees death as a natural part of life. The holiday is an opportunity to honor those who have died and to celebrate their lives, rather than to mourn loss and fear the end of life.
Petaluma Arts Center holds a month-long celebration to honor the holiday as well as the Latino community. As the Center points out on its website, Dia de Los Muertos has grown into a celebration that crosses cultures, bringing together people from all walks of life, and they utilize this opportunity to connect cultures in their community.
Petaluma Arts Center’s celebration offers events to appeal to people of all ages and interests in the community, ranging from art to poetry to hands-on workshops to lectures to traditional services and observances of the holiday.
Full Schedule of Upcoming Events (details here):
Sat, Oct 8, 11am – 1pm: Student Art Project Workshop
Sat, Oct 8, 6:30-8:30pm: Artist’s Reception for Bridges of Light exhibit
Sun, Oct 9, 1-4pm: Official Opening of Bridges of Light exhibit
Thur, Oct 13, 7-9pm: Artist’s Reception
Fri, Oct 14, 6-10pm: MOLE EXTRAVAGANZA
Sat, Oct 15, 1-4pm: Introduction to el Dia de Los Muertos
Sat, Oct 15, 4-6pm: Artist’s Reception
Wed, Oct 19, 7-9pm: Sacred Circles Dance with Joan Rawles-Davis
Thur, Oct 20, 5-9pm: Dine-in Fundraiser at Zocalo’s Latin Grill
Fri, Oct 21, 6-8pm: Lecture by Claudio Jimenez Quispe
Fri, Oct 21, 7-9pm: Artist’s Reception
Sat, Oct 22, 2-5pm:Workshop – Decorating Traditional Sugar Skulls
Sat, Oct 22, 4-7pm: Poetry of Remembrance
Sat, Oct 23, 3-5:30pm: Petals and Bones Writing Workshop
Fri, Oct 28, 11am-2pm: Bilingual Storytime for Preschoolers
Fri, Oct 28, 6pm: Traditional Candlelight Procession
Fri, Oct 28, 7:30pm: Live music and dance at Petaluma Arts Center
Sat, Oct 30, 10am: Worship Service
Tues, Nov 1, 6:30-9pm: Candlelight visit to the Cemetery