On Thursday, October 27, the Kalamazoo Institute of Art hosted a Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration to try and involve the community in the spanish holiday. Many Gull Lake Spanish class students attended the festival in hopes of learning more about the traditional Mexican holiday.
Dia de los Muertos is a holiday based in Mexico, where they celebrate and honor the lives of the deceased. The holiday is traditionally celebrated on November 1 and 2. On these special days, families gather at the cemeteries of their loved ones and have a “fiesta” to celebrate the lives that their loved ones lived.
At the KIA, people in the Kalamazoo community had the chance to make skeleton crafts, paper mache roses and get their faces painted. Students were also given the opportunity to try traditional holiday dishes, such as tamales and a Mexican hibiscus drink–something they aren’t able to enjoy everyday.
“I liked trying the hibiscus drink because it was really unusual flavor that you wouldn’t find in the U.S.,” said GLHS Spanish Club President Quinn Scheller.
The KIA also had various displays set up to expand people’s knowledge on Dia de los Muertos. Volunteers from the Hispanic-American Council of Kalamazoo danced the many traditional dances from different cities in Mexico as another way to teach the community more about the holiday.
“I went away with a heightened respect for the hard work and details of the festival,” Scheller said.