Day of the Dead not a som­bre af­fair

Guardian Express - - NEWS -

Chil­dren en­joy­ing last year’s Day of the Dead cel­e­bra­tions at North­bridge Pi­azza. This year’s cel­e­bra­tion starts at 3pm on Oc­to­ber 31. FRIENDS of Mex­ico WA pres­i­dent Ce­sar Ortega is joyous about bring­ing his coun­try’s tra­di­tional Day of the Dead to the wider Perth com­mu­nity as part of City of Perth’s Car­ni­val Macabre.

Ortega is a found­ing com­mit­tee mem­ber of the non­profit as­so­ci­a­tion started in 2006 to pro­mote Mex­i­can cul­ture and her­itage in WA.

He said the part­ner­ship be­tween Friends of Mex­ico WA and City of Perth was in its third year and was a great av­enue to share the Mex­i­can tra­di­tion.

“In Mex­ico, the dead are noth­ing to fear or to be sad about,” Ortega, who has lived in Perth since 2005, said.

“We be­lieve that when one dies, the essence and spirit con­tin­ues, so Day of the Dead is an op­por­tu­nity for us to have a party with our dead.

“Peo­ple go to the ceme­ter­ies, clean the graves and in some towns they go and have pic­nics at the ceme­tery, they bring mu­sic, al­co­hol and food.

“On the night of Novem­ber 2 the ceme­tery is lit with can­dles and we be­lieve the souls or spir­its of our de­ceased come back and share a din­ner and good time with us.”

Ortega said Day of the Dead was older than Hal­loween and dated back to the Aztecs.

“When con­quered the Spa­niards

Mex­ico the Catholic pri­ests adopted th­ese rit­u­als and in­cor­po­rated them with All Souls’ Day on the Catholic cal­en­dar; in Mex­ico it be­came Day of the Dead,” he said.

Car­ni­val Macabre runs from Oc­to­ber 28 to Novem­ber 1 and Friends of Mex­ico WA will lead Day of the Dead cel­e­bra­tions at North­bridge Pi­azza on Satur­day, Oc­to­ber 31, from 3pm.

There will be a colour­ful al­tar ded­i­cated to the dead, a Mex­i­can folk­loric dance troupe, face paint­ing, candy skulls for chil­dren to dec­o­rate and eat, bread of the dead and hot choco­late.

Full pro­gram at www. vis­it­perthc­

Tanya MacNaughton

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