Exquisite arts, elaborate altars, face masks, processions, special foods and ritual honor those who have passed at Seattle Center Festál: Día de Muertos – A Mexican Celebration to Remember Our Departed, 11am-7pm on Saturday, and 11am-6pm, Sunday, Oct. 29-30, in Seattle Center Armory.
A procession by Tloke Nahuake Aztec Dancers opens the 15th annual festival, as the performers stop at each altar to dedicate a danced offering. The altars, located in Armory Loft 3, are a centerpiece of the festival, intricately and beautifully decorated by community members in remembrance of departed loved ones, neighbors and prominent persons.
Performances of traditional folkdance and music highlight the diversity of Mexico’s states, with traditional Oaxacan music by La Banda Gozona, music and dance from Veracruz by Seattle Fandango Project and the Danza de los Viejitos (Dance of the Elders) from Michoacán by Danza de Pátzcuaro. The festival also presents live showcases by Correo Aereo, Bailadores de Bronce, Grupo Guadalajara and Joyas Mestizas, along with readings by local authors.
Hands-on arts and crafts activities and workshops provide fun for festival-goers of all ages. Try linocut printmaking, sugar skull decorating and paper cutting at workshops offered throughout both festival days. A special guest artist from Michoacán demonstrates punto de cruz (cross stitch), a traditional artform of the region. Authors from Seattle Escribe lead a Day of the Dead themed creative writing workshop entitled “Calaveritas Literarias” (“Literary Skulls”) on Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
A marketplace offers handmade Día de Muertos-themed arts and crafts prepared exclusively for the festival. Savory and sweet treats, including tamales, atole (a hot corn-based beverage similar to hot chocolate), and pan de muerto (yeast sweet bread), are also available.
Seattle Center Festál is a program of Seattle Center Productions. Admission is free-of-charge. For more information on this collection of ethnic cultural events and other Seattle Center public programming, visit www.seattlecenter.com or call 206-684-7200.