The Day of the Dead (or El Dia de los Muertos) at Ethnic Heritage Museum

Cindy Horsley gets her face painted by Sylvia Landreth Sunday, Nov. 2, at Ethnic Heritage Museum.
Cindy Horsley gets her face painted by Sylvia Landreth Sunday, Nov. 2, at Ethnic Heritage Museum.

By Sue Lewandowski
Board President, Ethnic Heritage Museum

Sunday, Nov. 2, the Ethnic Heritage Museum celebrated the Day of the Dead Mexican tradition at the museum. A procession of visitors paraded through the neighborhood. Each walker carried a candle symbolizing “The Light of Truth” as well as serving as a guide for the spirits to follow and guide everyone home.

Inside, everyone participated in a short ceremony that included music and the history of this symbolic occasion. There was also a quiet observation of the Altar. The Altar was decorated with flowers, pictures of loved ones no longer with us, and skulls serving as a reminder of loved ones who have passed away. Some children and adults asked to be face painted for this special celebration as well.

This custom survives in Mexico as well as many southwestern states. The people of Mexico believe souls do not die, but they are resting in Mictlan (place of death). The departed spirits are waiting for the opportunity to revisit loved ones. So it behooves their families to put on their best by offering the departed favorite music, food and to visit with them. Hot chocolate and bread was part of this celebration. Everyone seemed to enjoy keeping this celebration going.

The museum, 1129 S. Main St., Rockford, is open Sundays from 2 to 4 p.m. For museum information, visit the website at www.ethnicheritagemuseum.org or call (815) 962-7402.

From the Nov. 5-11, 2014, issue

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!