Polk library’s ‘Day of the Dead’ event celebrates culture

Published 10:15 am Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Day of the dead celebration at the Polk County library: Children make Mexican-style paper flowers with the help of Betsy Smith (right) and Joy Sharp of the Polk County Public Library during a Day of the Dead celebration held recently. (photo submitted by Joy Sharp)

Area families and their Hispanic neighbors celebrated “Dia de los Muertos,” or “Day of the Dead,” together recently at the Polk County Public Library.
Dia de los Muertos is a Mexican celebration to honor and remember those who have departed. Special foods are prepared and streets and cemeteries are filled with decorations.
It is believed that the spirits of the dead visit their families on Oct. 31 and leave on Nov. 2.
Families make altars and place special cakes, candles, incense and marigolds on them. Most importantly, a photo of the deceased loved one is placed on the altar.
With the help of Saluda resident Betsy Smith, a Spanish teacher who spent a great deal of time in Mexico, the library was able to recreate an authentic Day of the Dead celebration. The children’s area was decorated with punched paper, skulls and skeletons and many flowers. An altar was erected with photos, candles and more brightly colored flowers.
Stories in both English and Spanish were shared and children learned how to make their own colorful paper flowers.
Participants enjoyed a feast of Mexican food, including tamales, tacos and burritos, and finally a pan de muertos – a cake baked in the shape of a skull – with Mexican hot chocolate.
– article submitted by Joy Sharp

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