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Delaware Art Museum hosts Dia de los Muertos event this weekend

Dia de los Muertos:  Rosa Dia
Delaware Art Museum; Photo by Teko Alejo
Dia de los Muertos: Rosa Dia

The Delaware Art Museum will takes time to honor Indigenous peoples this weekend.

The 4th annual Dia de los Muertos: Walking Among the Ancestors event takes place Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The museum’s community engagement specialist Iz Balleto says holding a Day of the Dead ceremony is one part of educating visitors about Indigenous communities.

“People can also expect Indigenous experiences among the people," Balleto said. "This is something that is an honor and a tradition that is about 3,000-years-old among the Mayan and Aztec cultures. And not only that, we’re bringing all this to the Art Museum. And we’re bringing other cultures - the Nanticoke Jingle Dancers will also be here to represent.”

Balleto says an explosion of knowledge has made more people aware of some elements of Día de los Muertos. But he notes they want to emphasize it’s not just a party, it’s a ceremony.

Balleto explains how this Day of the Dead event came to the Museum.

“It initially got started when a young lady wanted to actually put in a day event in the labyrinth called Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos). And I remember asking her “is there anything that you’re going to be doing - even though you're calling it Day of the Dead?” And she said “no I just thought it would be really nice to walk in the labyrinth on that day,” said Balleto. 

In addition to the Day of the Dead ceremony, Balleto says visitors can walk a labyrinth and contribute to ofrendas by bringing pictures of loved ones and food to leave at the altars.

He notes that the goal is both honor ancestors and pay respect to people lost through gun violence in Wilmington.

Delaware Public Media' s arts coverage is made possible, in part, by support from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency dedicated to nurturing and supporting the arts in Delaware, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.