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*FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE*

Relive The Day of the Dead!
Sunday October 29 at the Harbourfront Centre

Toronto, October 12, 2006 -- Harbourfront Centre and the Consulate General of Mexico are proud to present the annual traditional Mexican celebration Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) to Harbourfront Centre on Sunday, October 29 (12:00pm to 6:00 p.m.). This is a free event suitable for the whole family. Complete schedule below.

For information the public can call 416-973-4000 or visit www.harbourfrontcentre.com

Harbourfront Centre presents a full day of Mexican music, dance, visual art and film, as well as traditional food and drink. Audiences can experience how many Mexican communities celebrate their ancestors by bringing their memories to life through an array of family-oriented and spiritual festivities. The Mexican Folkloric Dance Company will perform authentic traditional dance and top Mexican chefs will be on hand to display the unique and delicious range of Mexican cuisine, with a focus on the many uses of the avocado.

Toronto’s veteran group Mexico Amigo Mariachi Band will perform a variety of popular traditional and contemporary Mexican music, and local band Dirty Maria will contribute their original high-energy Latin rock music. Also on hand are guest musicians Tierra Huasteca from Veracruz, Mexico, performing a variety of traditional songs and ballads for the first time on Canadian soil!

Mexico Abroad will host the Beans and Seeds Mosaic Workshop, allowing participants to collaborate on the creation of a mosaic panel using beans, corn and other seeds as the medium. This group effort will be available for viewing during the events at the Marilyn Brewer Community Space. Also on display will be a number of ofrendas (richly decorated altars) created by a variety of Toronto-based Mexican community groups, providing a means for the deceased to revisit earthly pleasures.

What is the Day of the Dead?
This ancient celebration can be traced back to the year 1800 B.C. Death held a significant place in many of the rituals of the Mexicas (Aztecs). They believed that the souls of the dead would return each year to visit with their living relatives - to eat, drink and be merry. Over the years, The Day of the Dead has been influenced by Christian culture and is today a national Mexican holiday during which families celebrate the departed with their loved ones. The tradition includes lighting a candle for the deceased in remembrance, bringing a flower to their ofrenda and celebrating the departed by enjoying the food and drink that the person loved most. Each November 2nd, families visit the “muertitos” (dead relatives) in the cemetery and celebrate over the gravestones decorated with Cempasóchitl flowers. The Day of the Dead is a means of recognizing and celebrating the cycle of life and death.

DAY OF THE DEAD EVENT COMPLETE SCHEDULE:

MUSIC

Mexico Amigo Mariachi Band
Lakeside Terrace – 12:30pm, 5:00pm
Mexico Amigo Mariachi Band has been performing Mariachi for over seventeen years and continues to dazzle audiences across the country.
Artist info at: www.jlopezentertainment.com

Dirty Maria
Lakeside Terrace – 2:30pm
This four member band represents a mix of cultures and sound from Panama, Colombia, Argentina and Mexico. Each member brings a unique musical background giving the group their original sound and making this one of Toronto’s most flourishing Latin rock bands. Artist info at: www.dirtymaria.ca

Tierra Huasteca
Brigantine Room – 3:00pm
For the first time in Canada this duo from will perform a variety of traditional songs and ballads. Founded in 1987, these musicians derive from Colatlán, Veracruz, México. Tierra Huasteca feature Julián Cuervo Martínez (violin) and Román Güemes Jiménez (huapanguero guitar). As an additional bonus, the duo will create a personal Day of the Dead ofrenda available for display.

LITERARY

Calaveras (Skeleton Poems) Workshop
Loft – 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Mexico Abroad presents Calaveras, which are poems, songs or satirical obituaries about the departed and are meant to lighten the grief of living family members and friends. This workshop enables participants to learn about the history of Calaveras while writing one of their own.

FILM

Hasta los Huesos (Down to the Bone) 12 min.
Director: Rene Castillo
Studio Theatre – 12:30pm, 1:00pm, 1:30pm, 2:00pm, 2:30pm, 3:00pm, 3:30pm, 4:00pm, 4:30pm, 5:00pm
Hasta los Huesos is an inventive and animated look at death. It tells the story of one man’s arrival in the land of the dead. Once he gets there, he realizes it’s not that bad.

COMMUNITY VISUAL ARTS

Ofrendas/Altars
Marilyn Brewer Community Space – 12:00pm to 6:00pm
Ofrendas are an important part of Day of the Dead. In Mexican homes families create an “altar” and decorate it with items that they believe will attract the souls of their departed ones. Flowers, food and mementos prized by the departed entice the souls of the dead to return to celebrate with the living. Harbourfront Centre’s Day of the Dead features several ofrendas created by various Toronto-based Mexican groups such as The Latin Canadian Cultural Association, The Mexican Professionals Group of Canada, Mexico Abroad, Ex-A-Tec, Enlace Community Link Inc., The Mexican Canadian Association and 100 Mujeres Mexicanas.

Beans and Seeds Mosaic Workshop
Loft – 1:30pm to 3:30pm
Fun for the whole family! Mexico Abroad hosts the Bean and Seed Mosaic Workshop allowing participants to collaboratively create a Day of the Dead mosaic panel. Corn, beans and various seeds serve as a huge colour palette used to create large religious sculptures and murals during the Day of the Dead festival. The mosaic will be on display in the Marilyn Brewer Community Space during the event.

DANCE

Mexican Folkloric Dance Company
Brigantine Room – 1:00pm, 5:00pm
Witness one of Canada’s most outstanding Mexican dance companies display traditional dances of beauty, exuberance and grace.

MEXICAN MARKET PLACE

West Breezeway – 12:00pm to 6:00pm
Shop for a variety of traditional Mexican handicrafts and jewellery unique to the Day of the Dead festival, including the special Sugar Skulls and Shadow Boxes.

FOOD

Cooking Demos
The Avocado: More than Guacamole
Brigantine Tent – 2:00pm, 4:00pm
Avocado is an Aztec word (Ahuacátl) that was adopted by other languages. Avocados are used not only in salads and the ever popular guacamole, but also in breads, desserts, main dishes and non-culinary lotions and oils. Enjoy cooking demos with the chefs from El Palenque Casa del Mariachi Mexican Restaurant and Rebozo’s to discover the many tastes and uses of the avocado: more than just guacamole.

Café Mexico
Lookout – 12:00pm to 6:00pm
Taste the distinct flavours of Mexico with a selection of exotic and delicious Mexican cuisine. Food from El Palenque Casa del Mariachi Mexican Restaurant and Rebozos.
Explore Mexican culture and enjoy this festive tribute to family, the vibrant Mexican community and those gone but not forgotten. Day of the Dead takes place at Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay West, Toronto) on Sunday October 29 (12:00pm to 6:00pm). All events are free and are suitable for all ages.
All events are presented in partnership with The Consulate General of Mexico.

Members of the Media please contact:
Cary Mignault
Publicist, Harbourfront Centre
cmignault@harbourfrontcentre.com
416.973.4655

Mexican Consulate
Alejandro Monsivais
amonsivais@consulmex.com
416.368.2875

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