Pumpkin spice lattes bubble, pumpkin porters hiss and just plain pumpkins abound, all of which means Halloween is upon us. Though the pagan tradition is one of America’s favorites, coming in a close second are Día de los Muertos festivities which have become more frequent and more spectacular over the years, particularly throughout Colorado.
“Día de Muertos is very traditional,” said Ana Valles, executive director, Mexican Cultural Center. “We make it our mission to get the traditions out there, but also be authentic at the same time.”
Interest in Día de los Muertos events has only precipitated in the past year since the Pixar film Coco swept through domestic theaters last November.
“I know that the movie Coco made the celebration more popular,” Valles said. “So we try to make our celebration popular, but at the same time help people understand the meaning. Even the name Día de los Muertos, it is Day of the Dead, but we like to say that it’s a day of celebrating life. We’re not celebrating death.”
In that celebration of life, the Mexican Cultural Center has several, free events taking place now and set to take place over the Día de los Muertos this weekend from tomorrow to Saturday, November 3rd.
The Mexican Cultural Center Gallery at 5350 Leetsdale Drive in Denver is currently showcasing altar displays from Manual Cordero and Mexican Cultural Center staff along with music, food, drinks and a special tasting by Cultura Craft Chocolate.
`The gallery is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and the Día de los Muertos celebration will culminate with a special celebration on November 2nd from 5 to 7 p.m.
In Aurora, guests will be in for a variety of workshops and events tomorrow at the People’s Building on 9995 E Colfax Avenue. Along with the traditional food, music and children’s activities, the MCC will feature workshops and curated altar creations.
“We will have a one-day celebration of Día de Muertos where we will be providing things like workshops and we will be curating and creating some altars,” Valles said.
The one day activity runs from 4 p.m. - 8 p.m. tomorrow.
Also underway in Longmont is the MCC’s partnership with the Longmont Museum, which together have created “Xólotl: Dios Perro”, a monumental alebrije sculpture by artists Oscar Becerra.
“We partnered with [the Longmont Museum] to showcase this alebrije piece that the Mexican Cultural Center owns,” Valles said. “We offer some workshops and some talks related to Día de Muertos as well and alebrijes.”
The Longmont Museum’s annual Día de los Muertos celebration is now in its 17th year and has become the largest Día de los Muertos celebration in Colorado, attracting more than 6,000 visitors annually.
The event is free and runs through November 6th at the Longmont Museum on 400 Quail Road. For museum hours visit www.longmontcolorado.gov.
The Día de los Muertos celebration put together by the MCC are not limited to Metro Denver and Boulder County either as this year the center will extend its celebration to Breckenridge.
“In Breckenridge they have a weekend-long festival of Día de Muertos and we are going to be there doing some workshops and supporting them with the traditions of Día de Muertos,” Valles said.
The Breckenridge celebration begins tomorrow at the Breckenridge Theater with a free screening of Coco followed by a film discussion with contemporary Latino artist Justin Favela.
For a full list of the weekend events including hours and locations involving the Mexican Cultural Center in Breckenridge and throughout Colorado visit www.mccdenver.org.