Mexic-Arte Museum Celebrates Día De Los Muertos
By Miranda Cazares
Reporting Texas TV
AUSTIN, Texas — The 40th annual Viva La Vida festival on Oct. 28 at the Mexic-Arte Museum brought thousands of people together for a traditional celebration to remember the dead.
The event celebrated Día De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and took place in downtown Austin at Fourth Street and Congress Avenue. Festival activities at the Education Pavillion included opportunities for attendees to have their faces painted, color paper masks and make catrina headbands, which are flower crowns made with marigolds that represent fragility.
Día De Los Muertos is a two-day holiday on Nov. 1-2, to reunite the living and the dead. It is a time to remember loved ones who have passed.
Irma Benavidez attended the event for the sixth time. She dressed up with a calavera (skull) painted on her face and a long black dress. She said Día De Los Muertos means a lot to her family.
“We’re all gonna experience death. It shouldn’t be something scary. It should be beautiful. colorful and celebrated,” Benavidez said.
“It should definitely be embraced and celebrated by everyone, toda la gente (all the people), because death is not a unique experience, it is a human condition and we need to embrace it.”
Laura Gomez took her nieces to the festival. This was the girls’ first time to experience these traditions, and Gomez said she wanted to show them the importance of Día De Los Muertos.
“It’s more of remembering my grandparents, our loved ones that have passed,” Gomez said. “They didn’t really get to meet our grandparents, so it’s a time to talk about them and tell them stories about it, just to remember them.”
Mexic-Arte Museum’s special event and marketing coordinator Kaitlyn Zaldana said Viva La Vida is the largest and longest-running Día De Los Muertos event in Austin. It is a city-sponsored event with over thirty vendors participating.
“Another really important thing that we wanted to bring to the community was everyone together,” Zaldana said. “I think this festival is just a chance for people who aren’t in the Mexican culture to understand.”
Executive director Sylvia Orozco founded the museum in 1983, and continues to bring thousands of people together every year.
“We started small and now it’s the 40th anniversary. We have thousands of people participating. The community comes out,” Orozco said. “Every year it grows because our community is growing.”
Mexic-Arte Museum has a 40 Years of Día De Los Muertos exhibition through Jan. 7. The exhibition includes paintings and ofrendas (offerings). Admission is free on Sundays.
The Mexic-Arte Museum website has more information.