Smithsonian Marks Day of the Dead With a Two-Day Celebration

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian and the National Museum of American History will celebrate the Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), with a two-day family event Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 28–29, at the National Museum of the American Indian. The Day of the Dead celebration will be held each day 10:30 a.m.–4 p.m. and will feature a variety of hands-on activities, demonstrations and performances that reflect traditions associated with this holiday. Day of the Dead is a time for families to celebrate and commemorate loved ones who have died. Although its roots are pre-Colombian, it continues to be observed as one of the most important holidays in Mexico, as well as in other Central and South American countries. Day of the Dead festivities will begin with the building of an ofrenda—an altar used to display portraits, foods, and special possessions and memories of a loved one—by multimedia artist Tlisza Jaurique. Throughout the weekend, visitors can learn how to make traditional Day of Dead crafts, such as papel picado and marigold paper flowers. Other activities scheduled for both days include cooking demonstrations of mole and tortillas by the Mitsitam Native Foods Café (10:30 a.m.–2 p.m. outside, weather permitting); traditional Mexican colonial dance performances by Los Tecuanes (11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.); storytelling and interactive poetry reading by local artist Quique Aviles (11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.); a lecture by Jaurique on the tradition of the ofrenda (Saturday at noon and Sunday at 1 p.m.); a screening of Lourdes Portillo’s film, “La Ofrenda” (3:30 p.m.); and traditional flute music by Jose Montano. The National Museum of the American Indian is located at Fourth Street and Independence Avenue S.W. The National Museum of American History is currently closed for renovation until summer 2008 but will continue to present programming with and at other Smithsonian venues.
ContactMedia only: Leonda Levchuk (202) 633-6613 Michelle Werts (202) 633-3129 Public only: (202) 633-1000