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Dia de los Muertos To Be Celebrated at the Museum

Dia de los Muertos To Be Celebrated at the Museum photo 10/16/2015 3:53:48 p.m. - Hobbs, NM.  


Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a celebration in several Hispanic countries, especially Mexico and Central America, to honor the ancestors of family members.  The Western Heritage Museum and Lea County Cowboy Hall of Fame will commemorate this festival as part of its Family Fun Day, Saturday, October 24 from 10:00 a.m. through 3:00 p.m.  The event is free to the public.

“Dia de los Muertos is a holiday filled with customs to honor family members who have died,” says Mary Lyle, Director of Education for the museum. “It is a day to celebrate, remember and prepare foods and gifts for the departed.  The activities we have planned will teach children and adults about this special celebration, and while we mourn those who have died, we also rejoice in their life with happiness and praise.”

Lyle continues: “We are hosting Dia de los Muertos on October 24, a week prior to the actual event, to educate the public about this tradition and give them ideas for their own celebration.”

To celebrate Dia de los Muertos, the museum will have a Community Ofrenda - a table for families to bring photos of their deceased loved ones and offerings.  Other traditional activities taking place include papel picado (cut paper banner), flores de papel (paper flowers), calaveras (sugar skull decorating), face painting, and pan de muerto (traditional sweet bread).  At 1:00pm, children can try to break a piņata filled with candy. Afterward a family film called “The Book of Life” will be shown at 2:00 p.m.

Visitors are encouraged to wear traditional costumes and to bring a photo of a deceased loved one to place on the Community Ofrenda.

“This is our second annual Dia de los Muertos celebration,” says Dr. Darrell Beauchamp, Executive Director of the museum. “Last year we had over a thousand people participate, so we encourage everyone to arrive early.” 

For information: Mary Lyle, Director of Education: 575-492-2678 or


About Dia de los Muertos

The Day of the Day is a unique festival that is a combination of 16th Century European rituals and the Aztec festival on celebrating the dead.  When the Spaniards arrived in present-day Mexico in the 16th century, they brought the Roman Catholic holiday of All Soul’s Day with them.  Spanish priests quickly saw the correlation between the Aztec and Christian celebrations.  Though the Aztecs celebrated their festival at the beginning of summer, the priests combined the rituals and moved it to All Souls Day. The cultural blending of these festivals has resulted in an event with Christian components that still maintains its indigenous Native American customs.

Today Dia de los Muertos is typically celebrated over three days: All Hallows Day October 31, All Saints Day November 1, and All Souls Day November 2.

During the festival, stories are exchanged about the deceased while families visit their gravesites.  Picnics are sometimes held at the cemetery as a way to celebrate a loved one and the joy they brought.  Families also set up home altars decorated with flowers, and eat sweets like sugar skulls or pan de muerto, sweet bread. 

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