Santa Paula Times

Santa Paula’s Día de Los Muertos Celebration/Day of the Dead Festivities

October 25, 2006
Santa Paula News
The community is invited to participate in various activities during Santa Paula’s Second Annual Dia de los Muertos celebrations of life. Sponsors and co-presenters of these community events are De Colores Arts Group; Santa Paula Family Resource Center; Galeria Zapatista; Human Services Agency, Santa Clara Valley Center; and Clinicas del Camino Real. Día de los Muertos is an ancient cultural celebration of life stemming from the traditional ceremonial cycle of the indigenous people of México and other Latin American countries that has existed for over 10,000 years. Through the honoring of dearly departed ancestors, such as parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and the remembering of departed siblings, children and friends, the living celebrate their own lives. During the time leading up to the four days of commemorations in November, interactions with those who have passed on are remembered.Community AltarThe community is invited to participate in building an Altar to commemorate loved ones who have completed their life’s journey on earth. The Altar will be built at Galeria Zapatista and the public is invited to contribute photos and special items. Copies of photos and articles that represent memories of loved ones can be brought to the Galeria at 926-A East Main Street between October 25 and November 2. “The purpose of the altar is to exhibit those items that had special meaning for our loved ones who have passed away,” explains Carmen Guerrero of Galeria Zapatista. “For example, I will have a photo of my grandmother and a variety of items, including a Beatles bubble-gum card and a toy bus. When I was 15, my grandmother accompanied me to the Hollywood Bowl to see the Beatles in concert. That concert is a treasured moment I shared with her. The toy bus represents a Greyhound Bus. She and I use to travel often by bus to San Diego and Mexico. Those trips with her are precious memories.” Any items that provide a special memory are welcome to be added to the community altar. Items can represent favorite foods, games, music, in short anything that brought joy. It is requested that copies of photos (no originals) and items that do not need to be returned be brought for the Community Altar. “We don’t want to worry about losing precious mementos,” explained Carmen.WorkshopA workshop on making sugar skulls and masks will be held on Friday, October 27 from 3 pm to 5 pm at the Santa Paula Family Resource Center, 940 East Main Street. Veronica Vera-Vargas, Executive Director of the Family Resource Center will teach children and adults in the art of making and decorating sugar skulls and on making masks.Processing and Community Celebration
On Thursday, November 2 the community is invited to gather at 5 pm at Ebell Park, 7th and Main Street. Face-painting, painting of the masks made at the workshop, and music by Xavier Montes will be enjoyed. At about 6 pm, the community will form a procession down Main Street to Galeria Zapatista, 926-A East Main Street. There, the celebration of life will continue with the Blessing of the altar by Rosemary Valdez of Century 21 Buena Vista. Music and refreshments will be enjoyed at the South Paseo Patio, behind the Galeria. This is a wonderful cultural and educational opportunity for the community to learn more about Día de Los Muertos and to celebrate life. All activities are free.The hope of the sponsors is that the community will come together to learn about this traditional celebration and to honor their beloved departed.For more information about the workshops and the procession, please call Veronica Vera-Vargas of the Santa Paula Family Resource Center, at (805) 525-6616 or (805) 469-3754. For more information about the Community Altar, call Carmen Guerrero at Galeria Zapatista, (805) 525-3113.