Less than an hour after opening on Sunday, the Día de Los Muertos/Day of the Dead event at the Levine Museum of the New South was at capacity, with more than 40 people waiting in line outside.
The festival, which ran from noon to 4 p.m., featured traditional Hispanic pastries and deserts, Aztec-inspired indigenous dances, children’s crafts and even a Day of the Dead altar contest.
Presented in partnership with the Latin American Coalition, the event aimed to give visitors a traditional Día de Los Muertos experience. This holiday, which runs Oct. 31 to Nov. 2 each year, is a time when Mexican families remember their dead loved ones and the continuity of life.
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“This is an opportunity for people to have a dialogue and see what this holiday is all about,” said Bonnie Carter, volunteer and human resources manager for the Latin American Coalition, adding that she expected more than 1,000 people to come out Sunday for the event. “It’s not just about skulls.”
Volunteer Catherine Gómez-Méndez said that although the holiday is predominantly Mexican and she’s Colombian, the turnout on Sunday filled her with a sense of pride for Hispanic heritage.
“The more we learn about each other’s cultures, the more we can become embracing of our brother and sisters,” she said. “There’s so much negativity about our culture with immigration. This is a way for us to be proud of who we are.”