By Tatiana Diaz – The Collegiate Staff
The Grand Rapids Public Library will host its annual Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, event from Oct. 28 through Nov. 1. It will be held at the main library located at 111 Library St. NE in Grand Rapids.
The event will feature several altars decorated by local families who wish to honor and celebrate their deceased family members. Viewers will get the chance to walk around the library to see the altars and learn more about what it means to celebrate Dia de los Muertos.
Family Day will take place from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Oct. 29, where there will be activities for the entire family like face painting, bilingual storytime, and crafts. There will also be live mariachi music from Gabriel Estrada III as well as traditional Mexican dishes provided by area restaurants El Granjero, Tamales Mary and Panaderia Margo.
The Grand Rapids Public Library began hosting this event in an effort to celebrate Grand Rapids’ diverse population.
“GRPL serves the City of Grand Rapids, and we strive to have our collections and events reflect the culture and traditions of the people who live here,” said Kristen Krueger-Corrado the Marketing and Communications Manager at the Grand Rapids Public Library. “We started hosting the Dia de los Muertos event several years ago to celebrate our Latinx community.”
Day of the Dead is traditionally a Mexican holiday, but is also celebrated in parts of Central and South America. The holiday is observed through several days, typically beginning on Oct. 31 and ending Nov. 2. Families honor other family members who have passed by celebrating their life through parties, food, music, and the deceased’s favorite activities while living. Families will usually visit gravesites during Day of the Dead and adorn gravestones with flowers and food as well as build altars in their homes with the deceased’s favorite food, drinks, and personal items.
For those who celebrate Day of the Dead, it is a happy occasion.
“Dia de los Muertos is a way to honor or remember those who have passed away, but it isn’t meant to be sad. It is a celebration of life,” Krueger-Corrado said.
The Grand Rapids Public Library offers free parking for attending the Dia de los Muertos event and the event is free to the public. For more information on Dia de los Muertos at the Grand Rapids Public Library, click here.