Celebrate Dia de Los Muertos From Your Car
Dia de Los Muertos is a Mexican holiday that started centuries ago. Its focus is on remembering lost relatives and combining the mourning of the losses with a celebration of the deceased loved ones’ lives.
As the holiday nears, Sacramento’s Latino Center of Art & Culture has found a creative way to continue the celebration in spite of the current pandemic. The event may look a little different from prior years, but the desire to celebrate such a rich tradition is stronger than ever. The Center will be presenting its 11th annual El Panteon de Sacramento from Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020, through Sunday, Nov. 1st. It will take place on the Latino Center’s grounds and is a free event, although donations are welcome.
To accommodate health protocols put in place by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Latino Center has reimagined the celebration into a drive-through experience, while maintaining traditional elements such as the altares or ofrendas that families erect as memorials to their lost loved ones. As part of traditional celebrations, families visit gravesites, decorate them, and share music, food, and stories.
The grounds of the Latino Center will be transformed into a re-creation of a Mexican graveyard with an adjoining chapel. The scenes will be candle-lit and it is expected that live traditional music, giant puppets, ballet folklorico, at least 20 family ofrendas and memorials, and video projections will be included in the event.
Details of the Event
The drive-through event is scheduled as follows:
DATES & TIMES:
- Thursday, October 29, 2020, from 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm
- Friday, October 30, 2020, from 5:00 pm – 11:00 pm
- Saturday, October 31, 2020, from 5:00 pm – 11:00 pm
- Sunday, November 1, 2020, from 05:00 pm – 10:00 pm
LOCATION: 2700 Front Street, Sacramento, California 95818
Reservations are Required
As a safety measure, the Center is taking reservations in order to ensure the spacing of visitors. All visitors must remain in their vehicles. The vehicles will be staggered to allow proper time for enjoyment and reflection.
The Latino Center intends to create a visual representation that the community can enjoy from the safety of their own cars while keeping traditions alive and being able to share those traditions with children and grandparents.
To register for the drive-through celebration and remembrance, use this Eventbrite link.
History of Dia de Los Muertos
Marie Acosta, the Executive Director of Sacramento’s Latino Center of Art & Culture, explained that the holiday has roots in an indigenous philosophy and belief that life and death mirror one another. Further, it celebrates the idea that death is a continuation of one’s journey through the universe. The Sacramento celebration is modeled after those that are held throughout Mexico – particularly in the state of Oaxaca.
Some of the elements common to the celebration include marigold flowers, which are used for their strong fragrance and colors, many delicious foods, and incense. It is said that the spirits of ancestors will be drawn to strong scents and bright colors. In Mexico, fireworks are often set off so that the dearly departed can hear where they are supposed to go to join the celebration. Other elements include photographs of deceased loved ones, and pan de muerto, a type of bread that is only prepared for Dia de Los Muertos. The celebrations are infused with the beauty and sensibility of the Mexican culture and its focus on familial love and good humor.
Watch the YouTube video posted by National Geographic about Dia de Los Muertos.
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