by Taylor Timmerman
On Saturday, October 28th, over 3500 people gathered at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center for our 14th annual Dia de los Muertos Celebration. The colorful and lively community festival shared the sacred Mexican holiday that celebrates the life of friends and family whom have passed and serves as a reminder that they have not been forgotten. With a mix of traditional and contemporary stylizations, our Dia de los Muertos welcomed families that observe the holiday in their own home, and also helped to educate and share this cultural event with the wider community.
Our Great Hall, Celebration Gallery, and patio was transformed by the many community groups, organizations, businesses, and local food and craft vendors that explored traditional and contemporary Mexican art, food, dances, and music. Our gallery welcomed altars, and art installations honoring the lives of friends and family and examining the living's relationship with death. New to the altar exhibit this year was a somber, yet beautiful, altar created by Salt Lake Community College art students honoring and remembering the victims of the recent Las Vegas shooting. Community groups such as Danza Azteca, Latin Dance Heritage, Nostalgia Juvenil, and Ballet Folklorico de las Americas crafted meaningful and culturally significant dances and performances that were enjoyed by a packed audience in our Great Hall. Food and craft vendors, as well as traditional face painters, lined the Crossroads of the UCCC and outside patio. It was an endearing, and sometimes comical sight, to see someone in freshly minted sugar skull face paint try to navigate their roasted elote or steaming tamale. The full day event came to a grand finale with our La Catrina and El Catrin costume contest. The contest was emceed by our wonderful sponsor Alpha Media, and we were overwhelmed by the community participation and quality of costumes
Thank you to all our community and business partners and sponsors that include, but certainly not limited to, Salt Lake County ZAP, Utah Division of Arts and Museums, Upstart/Waterford School, Security National Mortgage, Save our Canyons, Alpha Media, and Rancho Markets. We hope it was a festive, educational, and meaningful experience for all, and can't wait until next year!