Anthropology museum celebrates “Days of the Dead”

Wake Forest University’s Museum of Anthropology will celebrate “Dias de los Muertos” (“Days of the Dead”) with a month-long exhibit running Oct. 1 through Nov. 1 and a free gallery lecture titled “Dias de los Muertos, Me Experiencia y otras leyendas” (“Days of the Dead: My Experience and Other Tales”) Oct. 30 at 4 p.m. in the museum gallery.

The exhibit will feature an interpretation of a traditional Mexican “ofrenda,” a home altar complete with sugar skulls, colorful tissue paper cutouts of skeletons performing activities usually reserved for the living, food and beverage offerings, marigolds and photos of deceased relatives.

The “Days of the Dead” is an ancient religious celebration that originally honored children and the dead. Today, it has evolved into a blend of ancient Indian and Christian features that can vary by region and degree of urbanization. The celebration is best described as a festive time when family members remember and honor their dead and the continuity of life, which contrasts the generally somber mood associated with death in the United States.

Families will often gather at the graves of deceased loved ones to reaffirm their connections to each other and their ancestors. They will spruce up the gravesites, decorate them with flowers and share food offerings with the ancestors during an all-night vigil as they remember and welcome the return of the spirits.

On Oct. 30, at 4 p.m. in the museum gallery, Christopher Avila, Mexico native and marketing director of CMC Mortgage Group, LLC will give a first-hand description of this ancient celebration at the gallery lecture. He will share about his traditional Mexican-Catholic upbringing, what the “Days of the Dead” means to his culture and family, and how the evolution of this tradition offers a better understanding of Mexico.

Avila is originally from Irapuato, Guanajuato, Mexico and moved to the United States in June 2002 after earning his master’s degree in international trade from the University of Guanajuato. He is dedicated to fostering multicultural understanding and developing cooperation among individuals and communities through global exchange.

Admission to the museum and the gallery lecture are free and open to the public. For more information, contact the museum at 758-5282 or moa@nullwfu.edu.

Categories: Arts & Culture, Events