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“Día de Los Muertos” (Day of the Dead) Festival

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Comcast & The Unity Council Present An Oakland Greater Bay Area
Celebration of Arts & Traditions

What: The Comcast Presents Día de Los Muertos Festival is a celebration produced by the Unity Council to preserve the Latin American tradition of honoring and remembering the dead. Stretching over nine city blocks, the twelfth annual event will be attended by an anticipated 100,000 people from around the Bay Area. The festival will feature four stages, live Latin music from top regional and local performers, traditional dance, hands-on activities for children, a delectable array of food, hand-made specialty goods and more. In following with this year’s theme of “Honoring The Memories”, twenty-two memorial altars created by professional artists and community groups will be on display.

Where: The festival will take place on International Boulevard between Fruitvale Avenue and 40th Avenue, and in the Fruitvale Transit Village Plaza in Oakland. Admission is free. Festival attendees are encouraged to take BART to the Fruitvale station, as parking will be limited. Bicycle parking will be available at the Fruitvale BART station, courtesy of the East Bay Bicycle Coalition.

When: October 28, 2007 from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Who: The Unity Council, in partnership with major event sponsors Comcast, Citibank, AAA of Northern California, PG&E, Kaiser Permanente, Safeway and Washington Mutual.


Why: The festival highlights altars created by local professional and community artists to commemorate the passage of loved ones. Congresswoman Barbara Lee has inducted The Unity Council's Dia de los Muertos Festival into the U.S. Library of Congress as a “Local Legacy” for the State of California. The festival is also recognized by the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and California Main Street.

Festival highlights:

Diverse musical lineup, ranging from world-class artists to local youth performers on four entertainment stages with live Latin music and dancing. Featured artists will include Danza Cuauhtonal, Banda Perla La Gitana, Los Mismos, La Familia Son, Ojada and more.

Approximately 150 exhibitors, ranging from local artisans to non-profit organizations to food vendors will line the streets and offer up their goods and services.

Specialty areas with different themes will be placed along International Boulevard and in the Fruitvale Village. Traditional altars, created by professional and community artists, will be located on International Boulevard at 34th Avenue, along the De La Fuente Walkway at East 12th Street, and on International Boulevard at 38th Avenue. The Kaiser Permanente Children’s Pavilion will offer numerous interactive activities to engage children, while the PG&E Community Pavilion will focus on providing information about local social services. The Celebra La Ciencia Pavilion will include interactive science activities for children by the Chabot Space and Science Center, the Lawrence Hall of Science, Explorit and several other groups.

Mary Andrade's picture

Querida María del Pilar: Por

Querida María del Pilar: Por supuesto que te recuerdo. Recuerdo también tu mensaje que me motivó a ponerte en contacto con nuestra querida amiga y poetisa Julie Sopetrán. Para mí es un privilegio el recibir mensajes de personas como tú, que a pesar de la distancia comparten mis inquietudes, lo mismo que las de Julie, en referencia a esta hermosa tradición y celebración del Día de los Muertos. Estoy segura que un día visitarás México para el primero y dos de noviembre y vivirás tu experiencia personal de aceptar que la muerte es parte de la vida, sin por ello negar el dolor que nos causa la separación de nuestros seres queridos. Mi afecto sincero y te agradezco que me hayas escrito.
Mª del Pilar Serrano Ayala's picture

Querida Mary, No sé si te

Querida Mary, No sé si te acordarás de mi. Ha pasado ya casi un año y medio. En septiembre de este año harán 2 años que tuve la fortuna de teclear Dia de Muertos y ver tu maravilloso trabajo. A través de ti, conocí a una bellísima persona a la vez que Gran poeta en Guadalajara ( España ) Julie Sopetrán. Gracias a ella he superado el trauma por la perdida de mi familia y te estoy muy agradecida por ello.Ojalá la vida me de el regalo y el privilegio de darte las gracias personalmente. Un abrazo y Felicitaciones por tu Blog y por tu trabajo en general.
Santiago's picture

Querida Mary, Felicitaciones

Querida Mary, Felicitaciones por tu Blog!. Realmente muy interesante todo lo que comentas en él. Los invito a todos a visitar, un blog reciente que recopila diversos aspectos del maravilloso México.
Mary Andrade's picture

I thank everyone of you who

I thank everyone of you who are leaving messages. The purpose of this blog is to bring together information about other places where people honor the lives of their loved ones. Your opinions about this beautiful tradition, celebrated in many countries, enriches all of us.
Sandra's picture

Hello. Can someone tell me a

Hello. Can someone tell me a online-shop where I can buy a "la catrina"? I just find a few at ebay, but I look for a better quality.
Jayme Warner's picture

In Spanish we did research on

In Spanish we did research on the day of the dead and I think it is a really unique day because you celebrate the death of your loved ones and hope the spirits come back. I love the way they celebrate by making alters and having a lot of flowers surrounding them. I would love to go down to Mexico on el dia de los muertos.
Libby's picture

The day of the dead and

The day of the dead and halloween are different in some ways but alike in others. Day of the dead is different because they are happy and celebrate death, and Halloween we dress up as something scary or cute. They are alike because they both talk about death, and in some sort of way they have to do with sugar (sugar skulls, sugar candy).
Mike C's picture

My Spanish class is learning

My Spanish class is learning about the day of the dead and I think that it is an excellent way to celebrate lost family members. Instead of mourning them like we do in our culture, they celebrate them for living. I also really like all the preparation that goes into this holiday; all the decorations and food etc. I am really enjoying learning about this holiday and this site has helped me learn more about it.
Kristen's picture

I really like this

I really like this celebration because it's not mean to purposly scare people like Halloween. Day of the Dead has more meaning behind it which I think is really cool. Bringing back the spirits from the dead would be a cool and interesting thing to do.
Tyler Lindauer's picture

i thought this was very

i thought this was very interesting and i also would like to attend this celebration some day if i have the opp.
Ben oconnell's picture

I thought that the festival

I thought that the festival sounds very fun with lots of activities for children to do. It sounded very cool that people were dancing around the city with lots of great cultural Mexican music, and great food. I wish i was able to be apart of this great fun in the Bay Area.
lee's picture

This is a tradition that we

This is a tradition that we as a Hispanic, Mexican, or Latin whatever we want to call ourselves here in America is rich in love, hope, and devotion to family. We celebrate our life even after death. We remember all of the things that made our loves ones so important to us that not even death can we forget them. Not only do we embrace Dia de los Muertos every year. But in remembrance to our love ones we continue to have an altar to them in our homes for as long as we live. There is nothing that will stop our believes in what we know is real and dear to us. Our culture is rich in family and in love for them. We as a people do not let go of each other; you may be 20,30, ECT. And we still tell each other what to do. Even more so if you’re lucky enough to still have your Father & Mother. Fathers are our main link to the world that teaches us what to expect and what our responsibility are as we grow up and become adults. Our Mothers are the main core of family. This is where our values, manners, goals are instilled in us. Where the mother is the one with the rule's and the discipline that is enforced along with our fathers. There is nothing that our parents in the Hispanic culture would not do for us, no matter how old we become our homes in which we grew up, will always be our home and we are welcome back at any time in our lives. This is the reason that our tradition in Dia De Los Muertos is so important to us, everyone in one way or another had a very big impact in our lives that we continue to celebrate there lives even after death.
Pancho Winch's picture

It's great that people in the

It's great that people in the U.S. are recognizing Mexican Holidays and celebrating them in large festivals. Now Americans can learn more about Mexico's holidays and more about their culture while having fun. If I lived in California I wold definitely go to this festival to experience something new. I also looked at the photo gallery. I thought the ofrendas were very interesting. I had no idea that the altars were so huge and elaborate and had so many items on them. How long does it take to make and altar like that and how long do people keep the altars in their homes? Also, the sugar skulls looked really cool and it seems like they would also take a long time to make. How long do families spend on making their altars and other foods and how much does it cost all together?
nick's picture

It sounds like fun

It sounds like fun
Peter Lombardi's picture

I like how the admission is

I like how the admission is free, because there not taking advantage of the celebration of the Mexicans. And all the activities that there are to do. And also that its nine blocks long.
Benito O'Connell's picture

Wow I wish I lived in

Wow I wish I lived in California so I was able to be part of the festival. It sounds like a lot of fun. This article really gave me a good understanding about the fun and excitement in the festival. Tons of music and fun activities to do. It sounds like a great and fun way to honor the loved ones who have died.
José Carlos Contreras Azaña's picture

Querida Mary Andrade, que

Querida Mary Andrade, que interesante y bello blog sobre el Día de los Muertos. La vida no vale nada, o, goza cada minuto de tu vida, porque tú pasarás más tiempo muerto, que vivo; son dos sentencias que me vienen a la memoria en este Día de los Muertos. Los grafitis los he leído en lavabos de distinta geografía. La primera, en una cantina escondida en las inmediaciones del centro de Lima, en Perú, y, la segunda, en la escuela secundaria Bismarck Gymnasium de Karlsruhe, en Alemania (por supuesto, escrita en el idioma de Hölderlin). En España, recuerdo haber leído en un retrete de Málaga, parte de los bellos versos de Jorge Manrique: Recuerde el alma dormida,/ avive el seso y despierte/ contemplando/ cómo se pasa la vida,/ cómo se viene la muerte. Pero las anécdotas más cómicas que he escuchado con respecto a los muertos, pertenecen a Antonio Skármeta y a mi señora madre. El escritor chileno, cuenta que en Santiago, frente al cementerio de la ciudad, hay un bar que da cara a la puerta principal del camposanto, y ¿se imaginan cómo se llama ese bar?, pues, nada más y nada menos, que Aquí se está mejor que al frente. Mi madre cuenta que cuando era niña, su abuela preparaba los mejores manjares para su finado esposo; los dejaba servidos en la mesa de la cocina, como para que degustara el muerto en su ausencia, y se iba al cementerio a poner flores a su tumba. En ese lapso de tiempo, mi madre y un primo suyo, volvían a casa y se comían los postres, y, después, salían corriendo de la vivienda con la barriga llena. Al volver, la abuela se amocionaba, creyendo -eso lo cuenta los ojos de una niña inocente- que su muertito había venido del más allá para visitar un rato la casa y saborear el manjar que más le gustaba. La historia más triste que he escuchado sobre muertos, y es verdadera, proviene de Chepén, norte de Perú, donde un padre se vuelve loco al no encontrar a su hijo en casa y le dicen que vaya al cementerio para verlo, mejor dicho, para palpar su tumba. Y así lo hizo, se fue, y quiso desenterrarlo con sus manos, gritando y llorando, bajo un cielo oscuro en una noche oscura al sur de la línea ecuatorial. El cuento peruano más gracioso que he leído con respectos a muertos, es el cuento El milagrero del escritor Cronwel Jara Jiménez. El milagrero es la historia de Crisóstomo, un asno que se muere a la vera del camino en Morropón, norte de Perú, y su dueño lo entierra allí mismo, le pone una cruz, le lleva flores y le prende velitas; con el tiempo le construye una urna, y la gente del pueblo imita esa costumbre pensando que en el lugar se halla enterrado un ser que hace milagros. Efectivamente, las personas que se acercan a la tumba del cuadrúpedo le piden milagros, le arrojan monedas, y parece que funciona el asunto de las mil maravillas. El solípedo, que hacía milagros en vida a su dueño ganando el pan de cada día, los sigue haciendo, para él, después de muerto. Recuerdo a otro muerto peruano, Garabombo, que se vuelve invisible para vengar las opresiones de su pueblo. La verdad que no está muerto, pero la metáfora de la muerte está latente en su páginas. La historia pertenece a Manuel Scorza, publicada en su libro Garabombo el invisible. Hay tantos muertos en la historia de la literatura universal, que la lista no alcanzaría en esta humilde columna; desde las muertes de grandes personajes, como don Alonso Quijano, Don Quijote, que muere confesado y sin tantas pompas fúnebres, y que en verdad, tras su muerte, el que muere es él y no Don Quijote; hasta la muerte del rey de Babilonia, poseedor de un laberinto, donde hacer perder a sus invitados. Uno de ellos se venga, suelta al rey de Babilonia en el laberinto que no posee ni escaleras ni puertas: el desierto. Allí muere. La gloria sea con Aquel que no muere, escribe al final del relato Los dos reyes y los dos laberintos, Jorge Luis Borges. Aquí me quedo, no vaya a venir Tutankamon o, el señor de Sipán, o las momias de Guanajuato, y me corrijan estas líneas, porque, a pesar de todo, siempre estamos con un pie, como dicen en el país de Frida Khalo, en la casa de la pelona. José Carlos Contreras Azaña (
Mary Andrade's picture

Ricardo, the celebration of

Ricardo, the celebration of Day of the Dead here in the United States is growing every year.
Mary Andrade's picture

Michael, I hope you will

Michael, I hope you will travel to Mexico sometimes in the future, so you can experience the tradition of honoring the lives and the legacies of the people being honored and remembered by their families and communities. It is a wonderful celebration.
Ricardo Marquez's picture

I thought that this was

I thought that this was represented well and that many people can learn a lot about the Mexican culture. hope more people here in America would start it.
Michael's picture

I think that this festival is

I think that this festival is a really great reflexion of Mexican culture influencing the lives of people living in the western United States. It really shows how out southern neighbors increasingly are influencing our lives and cultures. I would love to participate in the Day of the Dead some day!
Max's picture

Hey we have to do a project

Hey we have to do a project and i really like the sugar skulls but can u eat them ?
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