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Oct 31, 2008

H.O.C. hosts Dia de los Muertos exhibition

Story PictureAn exhibit for the Day of the Dead or ‘Dia de los Muertos’, was opened today at the Belize City House of Culture. The display was organized by the Mexican Embassy in collaboration with NICH and the Museum of Belize and depicts the cultural and traditional celebration practiced by Maya/Mestizo culture. News Five spoke to Museum Belize Director, Lita Krohn and Director of the Mexican Cultural Institute, Jorge Lopez Castro, about the exhibition.

Lita Krohn, Director, Museum of Belize
“Here at the house of culture we have two altars; one here is the Mexican style and when you see the other one it will be Belizean style. But how does it relate to Belize, its Maya culture. The Mayas never forgot their dead, the Mayas never forgot their ancestors and this is one way of remembering the dead. And so the Christians sort of incorporated it and that’s how we do it. We’re doing this for Andy Palacio. The Mexicans are honouring Andy Palacio and we in turn are honouring Pat Cervantes, who was a cultural attaché of Mexico in Belize. It’s a domestic ritual. The Maya always carried it out down south right now they are doing this in Orange Walk, Benque, all over the north; they’re all doing this ritual. So it has been going on for thousands of years. In the Creole culture they celebrate at wakes. The person is dead but they don’t want the memory to go away and I would say like in the Garifuna culture the nine nights, the dugu, all of these are remembering the dead.”

Jorge Lopez Castro, Director, Mexican Cultural Institute
“The day of the dead is from the thirty-first of October until the second of November. In this celebration there are many activities: visits to the cemetery to clean out the tombs and to put offerings at the tombs, there is music, there is dances, there is prepare to special foods for this days. We have religious ceremonies, there are many activities. In every house we put an altar. The altar is a way to connect with the dead people, normally the closest friends or relatives or someone very close to the family. In this connection we put eight items that the people love: for example their favourite food, objects like in this case like the guitar of Andy, some beers some and maracas etcetera. The white because this is for the adults and the yellow for the children. This is the objective of the two colours of the candles.”

Three deceased cultural personalities are being honoured: Beverly Smith-Lopez, a pioneer in the cultural arts, internationally recognized musician, Andy Palacio, and Paz Cervantes a former cultural attaché of Mexico in Belize.

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