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Day of the Dead to be celebrated in Middlebury

MIDDLEBURY — The Vermont Folklife Center will host its fourth annual Middlebury celebration of Día de los Muertos (“Day of the Dead”) on Sunday, Nov. 1, from 2-5 p.m. in the first-floor gallery. The event will feature homemade Mexican food, a Día de los Muertos altar constructed by University of Vermont Spanish lecturer Rachael Montesano and her students, and a performance by the Burlington-based brass band Brass Balagan.
Día de los Muertos is a Mexican cultural celebration that honors friends and relatives who have passed on. The celebration traditionally includes food and music, and focuses around family and community altars built out of remembrance of lost loved ones. The Día de los Muertos altar typically features photographs, drawings, specialized decorative objects, traditional cakes and sweets, and other offerings of food. For many Mexicans, Día de los Muertos holds important cultural significance, serving as a time for celebration of family and as a community gathering.
Altar construction for this year’s celebration will begin at noon on Friday, Oct. 30. Visitors are encouraged to stop in on the 30th to watch the altar construction and ask questions.
The formal celebration of Dia de los Muertos will be held from 2-5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 1. Visitors are encouraged to bring mementos or pictures of their loved ones — people or pets — to decorate the altar. At 2 p.m. attendees are invited to share stories about a loved one lost, in Spanish or English, bringing them to life with their words. And from 3-5 p.m. the folklife center  will host a reception featuring homemade Mexican food and live music. Images of previous years’ Día de los Muertos altars are available at http://bit.ly/SFWi98 and http://on.fb.me/1oHoATe.
The VFC hosts Día de los Muertos annually to provide the local Mexican farmworker community with an opportunity to maintain vital ties to their living cultural traditions. In addition, this annual event allows Vermonters to learn more about the cultural practices of migrant farm workers from Mexico living in Vermont, and serves as an opportunity for cross-cultural exchange.
The 2015 Día de los Muertos celebration is a partnership between the Vermont Folklife Center, Open Door Clinic of Addison County, Middlebury College Juntos! and the UVM Extension Huertas Project. It is free and open to the public. Donations to defray costs are appreciated.

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