Community comes together to celebrate el Día de los Muertos
Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is an annual Mexican celebration where families reunite with their departed loved ones. Each year between November 1 and 2, the dead are believed to visit the earth, and families will celebrate with special traditions, including preparing ofrendas (offerings) for the deceased, cooking their loved one’s favorite meals, decorating calaveras (sugar skulls) and the graves of their dead (Day of the Dead).
The city of South Bend is home to a growing Hispanic population, and this year, several local organizations have joined forces to organize a multi-day celebration of Día de los Muertos. This community-wide celebration is open to all and will feature a variety of special performances including:
- October 8-10 – West Side Story performed by the South Bend Civic Theater and South Bend Symphony Orchestra.
- October 30 – (Free) Concert at the Morris Performing Arts Center, 3-5 p.m.. The South Bend Symphony Orchestra will perform works by Latinx composers. Folklorico dancers and special guest artists Vanessa Alonzo and Trio Chapultepec will also perform.
- October 31 – Performance at the Indiana University South Bend Civil Rights Heritage Center.
- November 1 – Performance at La Casa de Amistad.
Tickets to the October 30 performance at the Morris Performing Arts Center may be acquired for free online through the South Bend Symphony Orchestra. The St. Joe County Public Library will also have a limited number of free tickets, which patrons can pick up at the Día de los Muertos Storytime at Main Library.
The Library will also have opportunities for the community to learn about Día de los Muertos and Hispanic culture. A Día de los Muertos book display will be available at Main Library and every branch, and Main will host a bilingual Día de los Muertos Storytime on October 14 at 10:30 a.m. In consultation with La Casa de Amistad, the Library is creating ofrendas to honor authors and performers of Mexican descent, such as Frida Kahlo, Emilio Delgado, Diego Rivera, Selena Quintanilla Pérez and Cesar Chavez.
The Library’s Western branch serves a large Hispanic population and is home to various resources and programs for the community. “We are excited for our annual Celebración de la Herencia Hispana at the Western Branch Library on September 22 from 5 p.m.-7 p.m.” explains Leah Steinhiser, the branch manager at Western. “Our celebration showcases the talents of our community partners, including a performance by Tierra Viva Mexican Folkloric Dance Group, and a talavera tile station hosted by Diana Palomo from The Pigeon and The Hen Pottery.” The branch will have crafts and games, including, la loteria, a traditional game of chance, similar to bingo. The branch usually hosts la loteria at least once a month. “We love having our volunteer, Olga Jimenez, come call cards for us!”
“In addition to Spanish-language books and magazines, we offer a digital tutoring platform, Brainfuse HelpNow, that offers free, live tutoring in Spanish. Many small business owners are excited to learn that they can get help with design[ing] logos and banner printing at Studio 304, and patrons love our free tax assistance, available in Spanish.” Please join the Library in these community events and celebrations, and get your free ticket to the October 30 Día de los Muertos performance at the Morris Performing Arts Center.
El Día de los Muertos is generously sponsored by Shein Trust with additional support provided by the South Bend Symphony Orchestra, the South Bend Civic Theatre, the Morris Performing Arts Center, La Casa de Amistad, the South Bend Community School Corporation, the South Bend Community School Corporation Alumni Association, the St. Joe County Public Library and ALoft Hotels.