Seedling for Change in Society and Environment
in collaboration with
Seedling for Change in History, temporary residents working in the agricultural sector, Mahtay Cafe & Lounge, Niagara Jazz Festival, Salsa Soul Productions, and Niagara Folk Arts Multicultural Centre
Week of the Dead Celebration
Time: 7-9 pm
Location: Mahtay Cafe & Lounge, 241 St. Paul St., Saint Catharines, ON
Sharing in the custom of honouring ancestors in contemporary Mexican culture, Seedling for Change in Society and Environment and collaborators invite Niagara’s diverse communities to celebrate together Day of the Dead at Mahtay Cafe & Lounge November 1-5.
The Day of the Dead altar or “installation” is a unique piece of Mexico’s cultural heritage. The altar is both an object for display and visual enjoyment and a space where people make an ofrenda (offering) in celebration of life and loving relationships. Varying in size, a multi-level installation always exhibits fruits, flowers, corn, salt, candles, toys, sugar skulls, painted masks, skeletons, Catrinas or female skeletons in fancy costume, and photos of the deceased whose lives are celebrated (photos can be replaced by mementos).
The installation, in all its variations, and accompanying celebration, has evolved over many centuries.Altars predate the arrival of Christopher Columbus and Spanish and Portuguese explorers to the Americas. Indigenous celebrations in what is modern day Mexico marked the completion of the annual cycle of cultivation of maize, the country’s predominant food crop. The celebration resonated in the minds of European settlers with some of their own celebrations, some of which were already product of the mixture of cultural traditions on the Iberian Peninsula.
Although Day of the Dead is considered representative of modern Mexico, peoples all over the world have joyfully embraced it as an object and site that transcend national borders and cultures. The practice is in fact in UNESCO’s list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity (originally proclaimed in the 2003, it was included in 2008).
By virtue of its close ties to seasonal change and the harvest, and focus on remembering, memory, and social relations the Day of the Dead altar and celebration transcends formal affiliation to any one particular culture.
In 2016 SCS&E introduced this celebration in Niagara with the collaboration of the Welland Museum.
Everyone is welcome!