ENCINITAS — The city of Encinitas and Encinitas Friends of the Arts held a Dia de los Muertos celebration that enveloped all the senses.
The celebration at the Encinitas Library on Nov. 1 included Aztec and ballet folklorico dancers, thematic children’s artwork and glassblowing demonstrations. There were also interactive stations for face painting and sugar skull and paper flower construction.
Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is an annual celebration to remember departed loved ones. The Latin American holiday has a light and joyful spirit that helps participants see death as part of the cycle of life.
Jim Gilliam, Encinitas arts administrator, said one of the Arts Commission’s missions is to expand city cultural arts programs.
Opening ceremonies included Aztec drumming and dancing around the community alter in the main room of the library. The three-sided altar had a traditional altar of a loved one’s cherished items on one side, community photos of loved ones on a second side and an interactive station to write remembrances on the third side. The altar was decorated with traditional marigolds, and crowned with an image of the Surfing Madonna.
Dr. Beatriz Villarreal, executive director of Mano a Mano Foundation, a lead organizer of the event, said she selected the image of the Surfing Madonna to decorate the altar.
Villarreal, an Encinitas resident, added that the event has many traditions, and some aspects that are unique to the city.
“It’s always celebrated to remember people who passed away in a nice and happy way,” Villarreal said.
The event was funded in part by a county of San Diego grant, and sponsored by California Coast Credit Union, San Dieguito Art Guild, Encinitas Friends of the Arts and the city of Encinitas.