On Wednesday, October 2, the North Carolina Museum of History is hosting a celebration in honor of the Mexican holiday, Dia de los Muertos.
Better known as the Day of the Dead, it is a Mexican holiday given to reminisce in those who have passed. Participants create altars in remembrance of those who have died. They include flowers, candles, baked goods and most importantly, a picture of the lost loved one.
Although it sounds depressing, this holiday is actually one of celebration. There are parades and everyone decorates their houses with papel picado (paper decorations), lights and candles.
Attempting to reshape death with happy connotations is difficult and foreign to many children in Raleigh. But the North Carolina Museum of History is going to try.
“We tell the children who come to our program that el Dia de los Muertos(the Day of the Dead) is a fiesta, a party,” said Nancy Pennington, coordinator of the event.
Pennington stresses the importance of the many differences between el Dia de los Muertos and Halloween.
“It shares roots with our Halloween, but while that celebration can often take a scary, ghoulish turn, the Day of the Dead is about family and remembrance.” said Pennington.
The history museum does a lot to define el Dia de los Muertos and its many contrasts to Halloween. The museum has plans to create papel picado and paper marigolds, signifying the different traditions of the holiday. Also, the museum will provide a taste test of one of the most common baked goods from the Day of the Dead, pan de muerto.
“These programs, both large and small, have been popular with the public,” said Pennington.
She explains that there are a variety of reasons why this event is so popular among the people. Those who are new to the holiday see the program as an opportunity to expand their horizons and learn about new cultures.
Also, there is a growing population of Mexicans living here in Raleigh who are happy to have this event to have the opportunity to embrace their culture and carry these traditions on to the next generation.
The event held at the museum provides an opportunity to learn about the traditions and history of el Dia de los Muertos. This holiday can shed light on a whole new way to view death and the mourning of lost loved one.