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The Dowse celebrates the Day of The Dead

The Dowse
OCTOBER 18, 2004 : Media Release

Sugar skulls, burning candles & bright yellow marigolds...

The Dowse celebrates the Day of The Dead

Every year on the Day of the Dead, November 1 and 2, Mexican families come together to remember and celebrate the lives of family members and friends who have passed away.

A special commemorative altar has been prepared by the Embassy of Mexico to officially mark the occasion for the first time in New Zealand. The Day of the Dead altar will be on display at The Dowse, Lower Hutt from November 1 - 7. The altar will be decorated with brightly-coloured flowers, candles and is designed to be a place of reflection and celebration.

The Day of the Dead is a pre-Hispanic ritual that began in Mexico before the arrival of the Spaniards. People believed that the souls of the dead returned on the 1st and 2nd of November (All Saints' Day and the Day of The Dead), to receive offerings from the living. This day of remembrance is symbolic of a universal desire to be reunited with those who have gone before us and loved us; the wish that they might come to visit, while hoping at the same time that they will not overstay their welcome..!

It is hoped that the spirits of the dead will visit their former homes, and so they must be welcomed, celebrated and provided with some extra provisions for the journey ahead. Elaborate altars are prepared, adorned with photographs, candles, flowers, a delicious meal, often a bottle of tequila (and a cigarettes for the smokers)... and a special sugar skull with the name of deceased written on the forehead.

Dowse director Tim Walker says, "The Dowse is delighted to have an opportunity to work with the Mexican community to mark this important calendar event. It brings a great sense of living tradition into the galleries".


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