A remembrance to honor our deceased loved ones, Día de los Muertos is a celebration of life and death that dates back thousands of years to the Indigenous tribes of modern-day Mexico, where families gather to pray for and remember their loved ones who have passed away. Originating and observed mostly in Mexico, the holiday is also celebrated in the United States, and luckily for us in Denver and at KUVO JAZZ (where Latin roots run deep!), we have plenty of resources to learn more about and celebrate this awe-inspiring tradition.
The Latino Cultural Arts Center is hosting artistic workshops in honor of Día de los Muertos titled “Ofrendas 2021: The Collective Healing Power of Art.” On October 20 and October 24, visit Raices Brewing Company in Denver and the Foothills Art Center in Golden where you can learn to make your own Nichos, small “scenes” that bring remembrance into the physical to honor the memory of a loved one. Both events are free to register.
The Mexican Cultural Center, a non-profit organization established in Denver that promotes and enhances the richness of Mexican Culture, is also partaking in the festivities.
“Día de los Muertos or Day of the Dead, rather than grieve over the loss of your loved ones or family members that have passed away, they choose to commemorate the lives of the departed and welcome their spirits back during November 1 for children and November 2 for the adults,” says Ericka Hernandez, Program Director of the Mexican Cultural Center.
The organization is bringing awareness to the holiday by collaborating with select cities and venues to promote and celebrate Día de los Muertos.
“Taller de Barriletes” (to be instructed in Spanish) is a workshop hosted at the Mexican Cultural Center on October 19, teaching folks how to make barriletes (kites) that scare away evil spirits and let the souls of the deceased find their way back home. These are the kites that fill the Guatemalan sky during La Feria de Barriletes Gigantes (Giant Kite Festival) in Santiago Sacatepéquez and Sumpango, Guatemala.
Breckenridge Creative Arts will be hosting a three-day celebration for Día de los Muertos, partnering with the Mexican Cultural Center on Sunday, October 24.
“We will be bringing a chef that will be doing a workshop on the Day of the Dead bread (“Pan de Muerto”), they’re going to bring the dough and people will be able to shape their own little bread and put it in the oven and bake it, it’s going to be a fun event,” says Hernandez.
They’ll also have face painting, a mariachi band and MCC will be teaching folks about the elements of the “Ofrenda,” the homemade altars for ritual display during Día de los Muertos.
On November 2 at the Lone Tree Arts Center, MCC will be hosting an event for toddlers as they do “Día de los Muertos Storytelling” to introduce the holiday to children. Hernandez explains that the story is about a little girl who lost her grandfather as she looks forward to celebrating Día de los Muertos and how her family prepares for it. Additional events with the Mexican Cultural Center celebrating Day of the Dead takes place in Ft. Collins, Thornton, and Denver.
KUVO JAZZ is also celebrating the holiday in our own special way. Tune in on Sunday, October 31 during Canción Mexicana, where host MonaLisa will be playing tunes featuring spooky sounding titles for Día de los Muertos. Super Sonido celebrates the Day of the Dead annually with a musical altar. Put together by host La Molly, the altar includes music that honors those who have passed on. Send in your name, your loved one’s name, a story about them, and a favorite song that you feel represents them to firstname.lastname@example.org to air on Super Sonido on October 31. The ofrendas awaits!
Photos: Picture of a Nicho courtesy of Latino Cultural Arts Center. Picture of Barriletes courtesy of Mexican Cultural Center
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