San José, Calif.- October. 14, 2011- The National Hispanic University (NHU) will host a Day of the Dead—Día de los Muertos—celebration on Saturday, Oct. 29, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The event will include a contest featuring up to 1,000 traditional Mexican masks created by area schoolchildren, a decorative cemetery installation, elaborate altars and performances by musical groups and dancers.
The event is the second annual Day of the Dead Festival by the university, and it is free and open to the public. NHU partnered with the local YMCA to encourage local youths to create traditional Mexican masks in the form of colorful, decorative skulls. A panel of judges will vote on the masks and recognize the most elaborate and interesting designs.
Day of the Dead is an ancient celebration that has evolved into a time when Mexican families remember their dead and celebrate the continuity of life. Mexicans now celebrate the Day of the Dead during the first two days of November, which coincide with the Christian holidays of All Saints Day and All Souls Day. The modern festival is characterized by a blend of ancient, native Mexican traditions and Christian rituals.
This year’s Day of the Dead festivities at NHU will be more elaborate than the previous year’s event. The cemetery installation will represent a Mexican cemetery that is decorated on the Day of the Dead with the bright blossoms of the cempasúchil flower. Another tradition, the handcrafted calaveritas—decorated sugar skulls—also will be on display. Children’s activities and food and beverages will be available for visitors.
Artists scheduled to perform at the festival include Danza Azteca Cipactonalli a group of 30 dancers that will perform a tribute to the Day of the Dead; Mariachi Regional de Magda Vazquez; Ballet Folklorico Mexicano Fuego Nuevo, which will perform dances that reflect Mexico’s various regional styles; Mariachi Cihualteco, a group of 12 students from different schools in East San Jose; Los Shakas de la Banda and Reinas de la Bahia. Other featured musical groups include Lasek and Keyz.
For program updates, please consult the NHU website where a schedule of Day of the Dead events is available. NHU is located at 14271 Story Road in San José. For directions, visit www.NHU.edu/contact/directions.htm.
In addition to the YMCA, other partners in NHU’s Day of the Dead event include La Bamba, Telemundo 48, La Movida, Alianza, La Oferta, Univision 14, and Metro.