October 17, 2003

Bazaar del Mundo’s 6th Annual “Días de los Muertos” Celebration Brings Mexican Folk Tradition to San Diego

Old Town San Diego’s Bazaar del Mundo will present the authentic trappings of an ancient Mexican folk holiday during its 6th annual Día de los Muertos (Days of the Dead) celebration, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 25 through Sunday, Nov. 2.

Visitors can learn all about the Mexican folk holiday by watching and listening to artists and viewing elaborate altars set up throughout the Bazaar del Mundo. Sugar skulls, candles, marigolds, decorated altars, and traditional gifts will be featured and explained in interpretive displays.

According to Christine Payan, manager of Artes de Mexico at Bazaar del Mundo, Día de los Muertos is a significant holiday for many Hispanic people. “In the Hispanic culture, the number one responsibility is to respect dead ancestors; it’s not uncommon for families to spend three times their monthly salary creating elaborate altars to show their respect.”

The Artes de Mexico shop in the Bazaar will display handmade paper cutouts, wood, terra cotta and papier-mâché pieces that have been traditionally used in Mexican celebrations. Sugar skull artists from Que Milagro will be demonstrating the art of creating detailed sugar skulls on Saturday and Sunday, October 25 and 26, and November 1 and 2 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m..

Free Kids’ Art Activities

Also on Sunday, Oct. 26 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Bazaar del Mundo Courtyard, kids can decorate sugar skulls in celebration of the Día de los Muertos holiday. The event is free, but parents should call the Artes de Mexico shop at (619) 296-3266 to register children.

Despite its name, Día de los Muertos is considered a time of celebration and remembrance of family and friends, much like the United States’ Memorial Day. “Día de los Muertos does not represent sadness, it’s a time when Latinos remember their loved ones with great fondness, and their memories are selective to the happy times,” said Payan.

The festival has ancient roots in Mexico, especially in the Oaxaca area, and South America. Early cultures developed elaborate rituals and philosophies concerning the life-death cycle, viewing life as we know it as a dream of hardships and obstacles. Instead of fearing death, they embraced it.

Today, the holiday is celebrated in Mexican cultures each year on Nov. 1 and 2, when it is believed the dead visit the living. Special foods are prepared, flowers decorate doorways and arches, and offerings of food and drink are laid out for the spirits.

Now celebrating its 31st year as one of San Diego’s favorite destinations for food, folklore and fun, Bazaar del Mundo is located in the heart of Old Town San Diego State Historic Park at 2754 Calhoun St., San Diego. For more information, call (619) 296-3266, or log on to www.bazaardelmundo. com.

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