In its 32nd year of what has become Austin’s largest and longest running Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) event, Mexic-Arte Museum presents the Viva la Vida (Long Live Life) Festival on Saturday, Oct. 31, from noon-8 p.m., on the northwest corner of Fourth Street and Congress Avenue in downtown Austin.
Día de los Muertos is an ancient Mexican and Mexican American religious holiday that integrates both pre-Columbian and Catholic customs. It is a time to remember deceased relatives and friends, who “journey back” in celebrants’ memories from Mictlan (the Aztec underworld) to be with the living in joyful celebration of life and death.
The free admission event features a procession, live music, artist vendors, art exhibitions, educational programs, hands-on art activities, a sugar skull piñata float by artisans Monica and Sergio Lejarazu, performances from Tiarra Girls, D.J. Chorizo Funk, and Gina Chavez, and food from Chi’Lantro and Veracruz All Natural Food Trucks.
This year, the Grand Procession will launch at noon from Sixth Street in East Austin between Chicon and Comal, traveling one mile west to the festival’s venue at Fourth and Congress. A parade component celebrates the history and craft of the piñata. Attendees are encouraged to bring their favorite piñata props and costumes.
Throughout October, the Museum, piñata artisans, Monica and Sergio Lejarazu, will offer float building workshops for the general public. Monica and Museum educators will hold a workshop on making papier-mâché piñatas, inspired by traditional calaveras (skulls) used in Mexico since the 17th Century.
Evening events feature a reception, “El Jimador Salutes Day of the Dead,” with samplings of popular and exotic cocktails and authentic Mexican cuisine (5– 8 p.m., ages 21 and over only; admission is $10 but free for Museum members who RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org).
Día del los Muertos Museum Exhibits
The Museum will run two concurrent exhibitions from Sept. 12 through Nov. 22, 2015.
“Community Altars: Ofrendas Inspired from the States of Mexico” is being shown in the Main Gallery. The exhibition features artists, community groups, and individuals who created commemorative altars, each inspired by the unique customs and celebrations the creator’s region of origin. Museum staff will create an altar dedicated to individuals who have contributed to the institution over the past 31 years.
The second exhibition, “31 Years of Mexic-Arte Museum’s Día de los Muertos: A Voice of the Community,” is featured in the Annex Gallery. It represents the Museum’s three decade quest to inform the public as to the beauty and significance of the celebration. Traditional and contemporary interpretations of Day of the Dead folk art are displayed, evidencing how Mexic-Arte Museum’s Día de los Muertos efforts have transformed a Mexican religious holiday into a uniquely central Texas celebration of Mexican and Mexican American life and cultural identity.
On Nov. 7, from 1-3 p.m., the Museum will host a panel discussion featuring Dr. Rachel V. González-Martin, Dr. Patrick Hajovsky, and Ms. Gabriella Scott, M.A., on topics related to the Day of the Dead exhibition.
Special thanks to Rebecca Gomez