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The Day of the Dead comes to life!
Sunday October 30 at Harbourfront Centre


Toronto, October 17, 2005 -- Harbourfront Centre and the Consulate General of Mexico bring the celebration of Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) to Harbourfront Centre on Sunday October 30 (noon to 6 p.m.). All events are free and suitable for the whole family. For information the public can call 416-973-4000 or visit www.harbourfrontcentre.com

Audiences can experience how Mexicans celebrate their ancestors by bringing their memories to life through a wide range of family-oriented and spiritual festivities. Harbourfront Centre presents a full day of Mexican music, dance, visual arts, films, traditional food and drink. Norma Araiza embodies Day of the Dead in solo dance and elegant dress. Acclaimed singer/songwriter Rosita Stone performs a tribute to famous Mexican romantic composer Armando Manzanero while Toronto seven member group Mariachi Mexico Amigo plays popular past and present Mexican songs.

The day also features Mexican sugar artist Gerardo Sanchez Acevedo, who creates sugar skulls (a confection unique to this day) and a number of Mexican community groups creating community ofrendas (altars) for public display.

Explore Mexican culture and enjoy this festive tribute to families, Mexican communities and those gone but not forgotten. This unique Halloween alternative, Day of the Dead, takes place at Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay West, Toronto)  on Sunday October 30 (noon to 6 p.m.). All events are free and are suitable for all ages. Complete schedule below:

What is the Day of the Dead?
In Mexico's ancient civilization the celebration of the dead can be traced back to the year 1800 B.C. Among the Mexicas (Aztecs) death held a significant place in their rituals. They believed that the souls of the dead would return each year to visit with their living relatives - to eat, drink and be merry. The Day of the Dead has through time been influenced by Christian culture and is today a Mexican holiday where families meet up with their loved ones and celebrate. The tradition includes lighting a candle for every person in remembrance, bringing a flower to their altar and tasting the food and drinks that the person loved most. Every November 2nd Mexicans visit their “muertitos” (dead relatives) in the cemetery, where they have dinner on the gravestones, decorated with Cempasóchitl flowers.


Day of the Dead
event highlights:

    All events are presented in partnership with the Consulate General of Mexico


COMMUNITY VISUAL ARTS:


Ofrendas (altars) are an important part of Day of the Dead. In Mexican homes families create an altar and decorate it with items that they believe are attractive to the souls of their departed ones. Flowers, food and memorabilia prized by the departed are displayed to entice the souls of the dead to return to take part in the remembrance. Harbourfront Centre’s Day of the Dead features six ofrendas created by different Mexican groups in Toronto such as the
Mexican Canadian Association, the Mexican Professionals Group of Canada, EX-A-TEC Canada, Cien Mujeres Mexicanas, the Latin Canadian Cultural Association and En Lace Community Link Inc. of Mexico Abroad.


MUSIC:


Brigantine Room – 2 p.m.

Toronto-based and Mexican born singer/songwriter Rosita Stone performs popular Mexican songs, including a special tribute to Armando Manzanero, one of Mexico’s greatest song writing legends. Artist info at www.rositastone.com

Brigantine Room – 3:30 p.m.
Mariachi Mexico Amigo
is a Toronto-based seven member band playing famous Mexican tunes past and present.
Artist info at www.jlopezentertainment.com/htmlmexamigo.html


DANCE:

Brigantine Room – 1:30 & 4:30 p.m.
Toronto dancer/choreographer Norma Araiza performs a 15 minutes dance piece, Me Lleva la Flaca, inspired by one of the principle characters of the Day of the Dead, The Catrina. Death is embodied in a female, elegant, and sexy skeleton dressed like the fashion of the beginning of the 1900’s.

Brigantine Room – 3:30 p.m.  
Kallpulli Kuahuilama
, a dancing group direct from Mexico City, perform traditional dances and ceremonies from the Central Mexican (Aztec) culture.


FILM:

Hasta los huesos
(Down To the Bone) is a 15 minute animated short film by René Castillo.
The film tells an ironic story of the path to the world of deaths.

Por eso en Míxquic hay tantos perros
(That is why in Mixquic there are so many dogs)
25 minute short film (in Spanish) by Luis Manuel Serrano
This original story takes place in a small village which conveys that when a person dies - he becomes a dog.


FOOD & MARKET PLACE:

Authentic Mexican food is available from El Jacalito Restaurant, and arts & crafts of Mexico are offered at the marketplace.

Zoom Room – 12 p.m. (noon)
Sugar artist Gerardo Sanchez Acevedo creates sugar skulls and other traditional candies from start to finish for display to the public.
Have a taste of the traditional Mexican candy.

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Media Contact: Bruce Hutchinson, 416-973-4677, bhutchinson@harbourfrontcentre.com

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