ANGLETON — Organizers wanted visitors to the Día de los Muertos celebration in Angleton to walk away having learned about culture and origins behind the Mexican holiday.
The Brazoria County Historical Museum hosted its third Día de los Muertos celebration from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. The free event was a collaboration between the museum, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Brazoria County Library System, and was part of the Museum’s Day of the Dead exhibit which runs through the end of the month.
The program was intended to introduce Día de los Muertos, said Jennifer Caulkins, programs manager for the Historical Museum.
“We started this event several years ago because we wanted to bring some type of cultural event to Brazoria County,” said Gina Aguirre Adams, president of the Brazoria County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
They’ve been putting on the event every other year, but a lot of people have been requesting the event become an annual celebration, so they might start doing it annually, Adams said.
Traditional Día de los Muertos altars, or ofrendas, were set up around the room, and several businesses and organizations made their own altars, Adams said. A large community ofrenda was set up in the middle, and people were invited to place a picture or other small memento as a tribute to someone they’ve lost.
Posters placed around the room explained the symbolism and significance of each part of the event, including the altars. Calaveras, or decorative skulls, colored by children through the county library system were hung on walls around the room and in the hallway. The library system also featured other kids’ crafts, which included face painting, paper flowers to represent the traditional marigolds, rock painting to represent the sugar skulls, and paper fans or masks.
The museum served samples of traditional pan de muerto, or bread of the dead, for people to taste.
Local ballet Folklorico dancers from Westside Elementary in Angleton and St. Jerome’s Catholic Church in Clute performed during the event.
“I love to dance,” Soledad Ramirez said. She and her brother, Arnulfo, were two of the Folklorico dancers.
While the program offered fun for the whole family, organizers emphasized learning about the historical and cultural aspects of the event.
“I grew up knowing some about Día de los Muertos but my kids haven’t because I never taught them, so I wanted them to learn more about it that I couldn’t teach them,” said Adrienne Hawkins, who attended with her husband, son and daughter. She learned a lot from the posters of altar symbolism, she said.
“It’s just bringing everyone together and embracing that deep, rich culture,” Adams said. “It’s good to have other people from different cultures coming together and learning about our traditions.”