Day of the Dead celebration highlights Hispanic culture
by Steve Kadel
staff writer
Nov 08, 2012 | 2003 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
45 day of the dead
Moab Valley Multicultural Center’s Day of the Dead celebration included replicas of traditional tombs with offerings of food, flowers and candles to those who’ve passed away. Photos by Steve Kadel
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Young girls swirled brightly colored skirts as they danced. Children with painted faces ran here and there. And everyone enjoyed an authentic Mexican feast made by community members Saturday during the Moab Valley Multicultural Center’s Day of the Dead festival.

The annual event marks the traditional Nov. 2 celebration in Mexico for those who have passed away. Often, those celebrations last for several days.

At the center, several exhibits served as graves and tombs. They were decorated with photos of the deceased, bottles of mineral water, candles, flowers, plates of food and other offerings.

One tomb honored James L. Stoltzfus of Moab and Coronado, Calif., who died in 2010 at the age of 84. The mementos to Stoltzfus included a 10-kilometer run plaque and a distance race trophy that he had won.

About 200 people attended the Sunday Nov. 4 festivities, which included a performance by some members of the Utah Opera. They are in Moab to present an hour-long performance on Thursday, Nov. 8, at 7 p.m. at the Moab Arts and Recreation Center. Tickets for that event, a series of operatic scenes by Mexican composers and sung in Spanish, are $5 for individuals and $10 for families of up to six people.

Juniper Roman, 17, was one of the volunteers for the center’s Dia de los Muertos. She watched attentively as girls wearing skirts of purple, red, green and white danced to begin afternoon activities.

“I come from a Spanish family and my mom [Lisa Roman] helped start the multicultural center,” Juniper said. “It’s really cool how so many people get together for this. There are more people every year.”

MVMC board member and volunteer Sarah Heffron spoke briefly about the work done by the center.

“It supports the community by helping build a bridge in schools, the hospital and government organizations to better understand the Hispanic culture,” she said. “The center provides emergency food and medical services.

“It helps those in trouble who need work and housing. We are here to help people through difficult times.”

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