Mexico’s Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) is on or around the same day as Halloween. It too has skeletons and skulls but not usually Spidermen or Star Wars figures.
It is celebrated this year by the Mexican community at the Artscape Wychwood Barns, 601 Christie Street. There, Casa Maiz invites you to experience an Aztec dance ceremony, traditional Mexican food, altars, and music. It will give you lessons in traditional arts and crafts, performances and workshops. The time is 4 to 10pm on October 31: http://www.casamaiz.org/day-of-the-dead.html.
At Harbourfront Centre, the celebration will be on November 7: http://bit.ly/1MA3puE and November 8: http://bit.ly/1Gf9eB5. Expect Mexican dances, ofrendas (altars), markets selling sugar skulls and dolls with skeleton faces, and craft lessons. Special Día de Muertos music will be performed.
On November 1, the Evergreen Brick Works invites the community to celebrate Latin American culture. It will have live Latin music and dance, and highlight traditional Mexican food and drink. For more information: http://evergreen.ca/dayofthedead/.
Of course, restaurants, bars and families will also be observing the event with special foods and drinks, but the above public events are easily available with free entry.
Rather than challenging youngsters with frightening symbols and encouraging children to imbibe on candy as Halloween does, the Day of the Dead honours the departed with offerings of food, symbols, candles, and pictures of the loved ones when they were living .It is a joyous occasion. Says the ROM’s Chloë Sayer, author of Mexico: Clothing & Culture. “Death is portrayed with respect, but also with affection and humour.” Did you notice Jack Layton’s picture? His bicycle? We took this picture at the Harbourfront event in 2012.
On October 31, many people believe the spirits of deceased children (angelitos) visit their families. On November 2, departed adult spirits join the celebration. The Mexican event is a fusion of the culture of ancient indigenous Mexicans and Roman Catholicism.
The Day of the Dead is one of many events in our culturally-diverse city. To learn more about your neighbours through our Blogs, subscribe to our newsletter above. To invite other Torontonians to other free or nearly-free events expressing your heritage culture, please email posters to: firstname.lastname@example.org.