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Downtown Luminaria Honors Día de Muertos

[Photo by Nicki Parker/The Indy]
Guitars strum vigorously, and a melodic voice carries over cold autumn air. Without warning the warmth of the music draws people near to celebrate, to remember, and to share. 

The Vancouver Ballet Folklorico hosted the Luminaria celebration for Día de Muertos on Saturday evening, Oct. 30, at Esther Short Park’s central gazebo and surrounding field. At the event, traditional music played, participants dressed in traditional clothing, and ceremonial candles were laid to represent a common family tree. 

[Photo by Nicki Parker/The Indy]
The event celebrates the traditional Mexican holiday Día de Muertos or Day of the Dead, a holiday observed in remembrance of friends and family members who have died.

Accompanied by description of each activities’ historical significance, children dressed in fine traditional clothing, adorned with facial paint of skull motifs, carried out a ceremonial funeral procession around the gazebo

As the process moved forward, one member from each family or party in the crowd was asked to grab a candle to light and place it along the ground in pre-painted white circles.

[Photo by Nicki Parker/The Indy]
The candles represent the deceased, the white swirls forming a large tree with each participant’s candle representing a member of a shared family tree.

Lisbeth Perez, a performer in the Día de Muertos celebration, has attended the Luminaria for three or so years. In addition to dancing, Perez helps with some ceremonial portions of the event.

“I like getting to know new people and helping to spread out culture,” Perez said.

[Photo by Nicki Parker/The Indy]

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