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Only In Santa Cruz

Tue, Oct 06, 2020

Helen Aldana

Helen Aldana - Outreach Coordinator

Día de los Muertos 2020: A Month-Long Celebration

For the past 5 years, our team here at the MAH has had the opportunity to experience, grow, and share Día de los Muertos with more and more of Santa Cruz County. This growth is thanks to our community partner Senderos, a local organization that centers on supporting youth to excel in education and honor their cultural identity. Fe Silva Robles and Nereida Robles Vasquez from Senderos are the heart and spirit of this celebration at the MAH. Being Indigenous Zapotec women born and raised in Oaxaca, they have unique knowledge and wisdom that they have generously shared with us.

In 2019, after long and thoughtful talks, the City of Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation granted us our first (partial) closure of Evergreen Street in front of the historical landmark Evergreen Cemetery. If you were there last year, you’d remember the procession, guided by Hermanas Unidas, of hundreds of community members walking from Cooper Street to Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park onto Evergreen Cemetery. With the permitted street closure, we were able to keep this procession of predominantly Indigenous and Latinx people safe from moving cars and comfortable knowing the people of the city were there for us.

As always there were altars, dancers, musicos, mojigangas, face painting, tissue paper flowers, catrinas y catrins, and much more. Everything was vibrant, colorful, and beautiful. Together we collectively mourned and celebrated life and death.

This year, things are different.

We continue to learn from our partners at Senderos and together we have found ways to bring the many offerings present at the annual Dia de los Muertos festival and the knowledge from our Senderos teachers to you in new reimaged ways.

First things first, we encourage you to be and stay safe. We are still living during a pandemic and needing to follow shelter-in-place orders. When outside, please stay at least 6-feet distance and wear a mask (my mask protects you and your mask protects me).

This year, we invite you to join us in a month-long series of virtual programs and self-guided outdoor experiences to learn more about the history and traditions of Día de los Muertos. Outdoor experiences will be closely monitored by MAH staff. We will maintain a limited capacity at each outdoor site so guests can comfortably browse the art safely and comfortably. Signage and markers will show designated paths and distance for a safe experience. Please do your part to keep these events safe by abiding by these guidelines and listening to MAH staffers. If you have any questions about the programing or precautions being taken please email us at info@santacruzmah.org.

Día de los Muertos dates back 3,000 years and 2020 will be another year this Indigenous celebration lives on. Below are opportunities for you to learn more and celebrate safely.

Upcoming Events

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Beginning October 21st

Browse Chalk Art Circles in Abbott Square

Take a walk through Abbott Square for chalk drawings by local Latinx artists. The art will be debuting on Wednesday, October 21st, 2020 and will be up until the community ofrenda viewing on Saturday November 7th at the MAH. Meet the Artists >>

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October 22nd

Video Tutorial: Calavera Face Paint with Evelyn Salguero

Calavera (skull) is a familiar symbol of Dia de los Muertos celebration that represents the departed soul folks honor on their altar. Learn from local artist Evelyn Salguero in a video tutorial how to paint your (or someone else’s) face with the vibrant calavera.

Watch the Tutorial >>

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October 29th

Video Performance: Ensamble Musical de Senderos Musical Performance

Bring the beautiful music of Día de los Muertos to your home thanks to Ensamble Musical de Senderos in a prerecorded musical performance filmed at Evergreen Cemetery. The video will be posted here on November 5th for you to enjoy and share.
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November 1st, 12-3:30pm

Pop-Up Installation: Community Altars & Ribbons at Evergreen Cemetery

Stroll through Evergreen Cemetery in a self-guided walking tour of community ofrendas (altars) and view of a community-sourced ribbon installation Recordando Recuerdos. MAH staff members will be on-site to maintain a safe viewing experience. Masks and social distancing are required.

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November 2nd

Educational Video: Día de los Muertos History Lesson

Enjoy a prerecorded video of the MAH’s Education Coordinator, Oscar Paz, at Evergreen Cemetery for a quick history of Día de los Muertos and some traditions surrounding the holiday. A great video for educators and anyone interested in learning more about Día de los Muertos while staying safe at home. The video will be posted here on November 2nd for all to enjoy and share.

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November 2nd-7th

Pop-Up Installation: Community Ofrenda at the MAH

Take a moment to pause with a community altar (ofrenda). The ofrenda welcomes your stories of loved ones who have passed. Altars are built to honor the dead, welcome them to the living world, and celebrate with the offerings placed on the altar. Stop by the MAH to view the ofrenda and hold space for reflection.

How do you honor loved ones present and passed? Tag the MAH @santacruzmah or with the hashtag #DiaAtTheMAH to share your answers.

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November 5th

Video Performance: Senderos’ Centeotl Danza y Baile dance performance

Come back here as we drop a virtual performance by Centeotl Danza y Baile filmed at Evergreen Cemetery. Learn about the dance and its significance in an interview with Maestras Jenny Robles, Magdalena Vega, and Chanel Robles. The video will be posted here on November 5th for you to enjoy.

Join Ongoing Opportunities: Recordando Recuerdos

Recordando Recuerdos translates to remembering memories and will be a community-sourced piece honoring of life, death, and loss. We acknowledge 2020 has magnified and made the crisis experienced in our community significantly more visible. Through this, we have been continually reminded of the power of collective mourning and care.

Share your story on a collaborative artwork made of vibrant colors with names of loved ones, objects, and moments lost that you wish to honor and remember. Fill out the form and honor what you have lost here: Español | English

The piece will be assembled by MAH staff throughout the month of October. As we continue to collect submissions, get a sneak peek of Recordando Recuerdos at Evergreen Cemetery on Sunday, November 1st, 2020 12 - 3:30pm.

The final artwork will be a part of our upcoming exhibition, In These Uncertain Times on-view Winter/Spring 2021.

For more information please contact Helen Aldana at helen@santacruzmah.org or leave a voice message at 831.429.1964 ext. 7032 for a callback.

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