Sugar skulls to Pan de Muerto, MOLAA kicks off two-week Dia de los Muertos celebration

From sugar skull painting to guided meditations, there are online activities aplenty to take part in during the Museum of Latin American Art’s two-week Dia de los Muertos celebration, kicking off Sunday, Oct. 18. Traditionally, MOLAA holds its Dia de Los Muertos exhibition and festival at the museum, but this year’s festivities are fully on the web, with organizers embracing having to pivot online due to the pandemic.

Some of these festivities include, on Monday, Oct. 26, an hour spent with Gusto Bread panadero Arturo Enciso, who will give a traditional hot chocolate demonstration followed by a presentation on Pan de Muerto, and how he came up with his own recipe for the seasonal bread made during the Mexican holiday (have a look at Gusto Bread’s Pan de Muerto on Instagram below).

On Sunday, Oct. 18, artist Maria Guadalupe will lead families through the steps to make their own milagro, a Mexican votive charm typically given as an offering. And on Wednesday, Oct 21, musician Martin Espino will offer a mindfulness meditation session using indigenous instruments of ancient Mexico.

“The importance of heritage, a passing down of information and rituals through our family relationships enrich and contextualize our life’s journey,” said MOLAA CEO Lourdes I. Ramos-Rivas, in a statement. “MOLAA is happy to be able to continue our traditional Day of the Dead celebrations through an online offering with the support of our generous sponsors and the collaboration of talented artists whose tireless work keep these traditions alive.”

Complete with an online exhibition pulled from MOLAA’s permanent collection that viewers can see on the website now, virtual events fall under the theme “A Long Journey,” which chief curator, Gabriela Urtiaga said “refers to the path that each person takes during their life cycle, and how throughout history this intimate circle honors that memory through rituals and celebrations.”

Photo courtesy of Museum of Latin American Art, photographer: David Espinoza. Images are from 2019’s festivities.

Some of these rituals include building a paper altar with artist nauj leunam (Juan Silverio). The community can send their submissions, an image of a loved one with their name, date of birth and death, and a message, using the form at this link, or email [email protected] The deadline to submit is Tuesday, Oct. 20. Not only will the artist’s process be shared through MOLAA’s YouTube channel, with times to be announced, but the completed ofrenda will be unveiled on Sunday, Nov. 1.

A contest for best Day of the Dead-inspired costume will be held on Instagram. Participants can post their costumes to Instagram using the hashtag #DoDMOLAA and #DoDHyundai to be included in the prize drawing; winners will be announced after Nov. 2.

MOLAA’s online Day of the Dead celebration runs Sunday, Oct. 18 through Sunday, Nov. 1. To view the online exhibition, as well as an updated schedule of events, visit MOLAA’s website here.

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Asia Morris has been with the Long Beach Post for five years, specializing in coverage of the arts. Her parents gave her the name because they wanted her to be a world traveler and they got their wish. She has obliged by pursuing art, journalism and a second career as a competitive cyclist.
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