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Longmont’s Day of the Dead celebrations kick of next weekend

Museum, Firehouse offer downtown family event and exhibits for all to enjoy
Dia de los Muertos 2021 (35 of 40)
Last year's Longmont Day of the Dead Family Celebration & Gigantes Procession on October 9, 2021

The longest standing Día de los Muertos celebration returns for its 22nd anniversary in Longmont this year.

The celebration on Oct. 8 kicks off the opening of multiple Day of the Dead exhibitions leading up to the holiday on Nov. 1 and 2. Ann Macca, curator of education at the Longmont Museum, is responsible for the projects at the museum.

The Longmont Museum started its Day of the Dead celebration 22 years ago.

“It was a collaboration between the museum, El Comité and a bunch of different community members who were interested in finding ways to be more welcoming to the local Latino or Hispanic community and make people feel more welcome at the museum,” Macca said.

It began as a one day event, with most non-Latino people not know much about the Day of the Dead. Macca said the pop culture awareness of the holiday celebrating life and death has expanded in recent years thanks to movies like “Coco” and “The Book of Life.”

Education about where the many traditions associated with Day of the Dead is a big part of the museum’s mission.

“A lot of Caucasion people think the Day of the Dead is Mexican Halloween, and it's not,” Macca said. “So that’s one of things that’s important to us as well is making sure that we are honoring that heritage by educating about what Day of the Dead is, where it comes from.”

Longmont’s downtown celebration takes place earlier than the actual holiday with the hope that it will be a little warmer to enjoy the dance performances, art activities, cultural education, food, business altars and the Firehouse Art Center’s Gigantes Procession.

“It’s important to Longmont because we have a lot of Latino and Hispanic people in the community,” Macca said. “This is part of their cultural heritage. Recognizing that and celebrating it, really trying to be culturally appreciative is really important. And gosh, it’s just really fun.”

The family celebration is free and will be from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Oct. 8. That same day, the Longmont Museum will open its Día de los Muertos exhibition featuring a 25 by 30 foot altar by local artist Marcelo Fernandez and ofrendas built by community members.

The Firehouse Art Center’s Day of the Dead exhibition will also open with the kick off celebration, with community-made Catrina paintings alongside work from local artists Jamie Chihuan and Adriana Paola Palacios Luna celebrating American diversity in language and culture. Downtown Longmont businesses will also host ofrenda displays through Nov. 4.

Macca encourages everyone, regardless of their cultural background, to learn more about Day of the Dead and to participate in the community events.

“Every culture has a way of remembering and honoring their loved ones who have departed,” she said. “When you start to look at the different ways that different cultures do that, there’s so many similarities.”

Other upcoming Día de los Muertos events in Longmont include the Firehouse Art Center’s Catrina Ball on Oct. 28 and the Noche de Museo on Oct. 29 at the Longmont Museum. Find more information and tickets at firehouseart.org/catrinabal and longmontmuseum.org.



Amy Golden

About the Author: Amy Golden

I grew up in Colorado Springs and earned a degree in journalism from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley.
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