Day of the Dead to be celebrated
Day of the Dead may not be evident to a majority of South Shore residents, but the celebration is alive and well at certain corners of the community, especially in the Spanish classes of Lake Tahoe Community College.
The Mexican celebration, which dates back to the pre-Columbus days of the Aztec civilization, is officially on the night of Nov. 2. However, many people who know the celebration say festivities occur on the night of Nov. 1.
The celebration is almost always at night when Mexicans light candles and place flower petals on a mantle to help guide dead relatives, friends and even memorable pets back to the living.
Favorite vices such as food, cigarettes and alcohol would be placed on the mantle so the dead would have an enjoyable and lengthy stay.
Residents in Mexico celebrate in graveyards where mantels, music and smiles prevail. Many find it the most important holiday of the year.
Gabriella Inigo, a LTCC Spanish teacher, said students in her elementary Spanish class brought some poems, pictures and food for their relatives during a lesson on the festival.
“All my students shared who passed away,” Inigo said.
Inigo said students brought items including chocolate chip cookies, greasy pizza, candy and cigarettes for their dead relatives because “the dead enjoy whatever they liked in life. They can’t get sick.”
Inigo said she used to steal lemonade from her great-grandmother when she was younger. So, during the lesson, the teacher brought lemonade for her deceased relative.
“The belief is once a year the dead is allowed to come and enjoy their past life,” Inigo said. “It’s a way of making sure the dead doesn’t forget about us, they might be so happy they might not remember us.”
There have been several community events in years past, but Inigo said she believes there will be no events this weekend. She believes the celebration is still occurring behind closed doors.
“Actually I think the Latino community, we just want to keep things in a quiet way because we don’t want to make waves,” she said. “We don’t want to offend people.”
Nancy Barclay, head of the foreign language department at LTCC, said teaching culture and beliefs are a major portion of foreign language community college classes.
“It’s really an important part of the entire perspective,” she said.
A Dead of the Dead art exhibit consisting of drawings, prints and three-dimensional art by Nevada artist Edw Martinez will be at the Sierra Arts Gallery at the Riverside Artist Lofts at 17 S. Virginia Street in Reno.
The exhibit runs through Nov. 8.
— Contact William Ferchland at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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