Tohono Chul Park’s exhibit Día de los Muertos opens this week, showcasing a versatile array of art works created by regional artists paying homage to this observance. The exhibit also includes the ever–popular Community Ofrenda/Altar, allowing visitors to participate by leaving a token memento in tribute for their departed loved ones.

Also to be presented are fanciful and moving contemporary paintings, photographs, quilts, and artful works that link us as human beings in dealing with death, loss and remembrance.

Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is celebrated in Mexico on All Saints’ Day (Nov. 1) and All Souls’ Day (Nov. 2). With roots blending customs from pre-Hispanic and European influences, Día de los Muertos is a family observance when ancestors and loved ones who have died are honored and remembered.

It is a poignant time, both solemn and joyous, with colorful traditions, pageantry and whimsy despite the sobering subject.

Families clean, paint and decorate graves of relatives and participate in graveside vigils with candles, flowers and music.

At home, ofrendas, or altars, honor the dead. They are embellished with photographs of beloved family members, family saints, candles, flowers and offerings – favorite foods and pan de muertos (bread of the dead) – to welcome their souls back for a short time.

Not to be confused with our ghoulish celebration of Halloween, Day of the Dead is a joyful remembrance with feasts and festivities in which death is recognized as a natural part of the cycle of life.

For more information, visit www.tohonochulpark.org.

If you go

What: Día de los Muertos art exhibit

When: Sept. 1-Nov. 6

Where: Tohono Chul Park, 7366 N. Paseo del Norte

Curator’s Talk: Sept. 7, 9:30 a.m.

Reception: During Park After Dark, Oct. 21, 5-8 p.m.

Cost: Included with park admission: $8 adults, $5 seniors and active military, $3 children 5-12

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