Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a Mexican festivity in which the living remember those who have passed on. Traditionally celebrated on November 2, the festivities involve a variety of traditions such as the setting up of altars and celebrations organized by communities or families.

In San Antonio, the Esperanza Center organizes an annual celebration on Nov. 1 at the Rinconcito de Esperanza. This year they have been hosting a series of six workshops leading up to the big event.

The Esperanza Center works to promote social justice between different social communities through the use of art and cultural expression.

By promoting the mixing of cultures within a diverse community, the Esperanza Center hopes to cross bridges that will bring people “wounded by domination and inequality” to greater social understanding.

The workshops offered by the Esperanza Center look to teach the community about the different elements that form the tradition of the Day of the Dead. The goal is to preserve cultures and their history by teaching the community about different traditions celebrated in the United States.

Each workshop started with an overview of the meaning of the specific aspects of the tradition in order to give participants a better understanding of it.

The first workshop, for example, focused on the history of the Day of the Dead.

Both the second and third workshops concentrated on altars and their significance. The first of these workshops was more interactive and allowed the participants to learn the meaning behind the altars through the making of a miniature one.

The second workshop, presented in Spanish, was more instructional and focused on the make-up and significance of the altar in the Day of the Dead tradition.

The fourth workshop took on the sweeter side of the festivities by teaching the participants the history behind the traditional sugar skulls. Not only were the participants able to learn about this aspect of the tradition, they were also able to take part in it by decorating their own sugar skull. The fifth workshop was interactive, and participants got the chance to make paper flowers that could serve as decorations for the festivity.

The last workshop will take place on Oct. 31 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The theme of the workshop will be Cempazútchil/Marigold – Fresh Flower Preparation, in which people will learn about the significance of the flowers and lend a hand in decorating the establishment in preparation for the Day of the Dead celebration.

As for the big celebration taking place on November 1, the Esperanza Center has planned a night full of entertainment, from theatrical performances to live music and face painting to a cemetery tour. The celebration starts at 3 p.m. and ends at 9 p.m.

The last workshop and celebration will take place at Rinconcito de Esperanza, 816 S. Colorado. Both events are free to attend.

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