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Day of the Dead event returns to Figge Museum

After a virtual event last year, the celebration is back in person.
Published: Oct. 24, 2021 at 5:29 PM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - Music, dancing, food, and remembrance. A rainy day couldn’t put a stop to the Figge Art Museum’s Day of the Dead event. Organizers were eager to bring it back, after making the move to a virtual celebration last year due to the pandemic.

“Having it live, that’s what it’s all about,” said Heather Aaronson, the Education Programs Coordinator at the Figge. “Sharing with our community, being with people, and teaching them new things. And just really celebrating life while we’re here. It feels good to do that, coming out of COVID.”

The Figge puts on the event with community partners LULAC and Hola America, making the day both fun and an opportunity to learn more about the holiday’s history. Day of the Dead is widely celebrated in Mexico. But it is a UNESCO World Heritage Day and it touches on an experience every human will have.

“It doesn’t matter what your background is, your ethnic background,” said Aaronson. “Everybody has lost somebody, it’s part of being human. Lots of cultures celebrate the dead in a lot of different ways, and this way is a wonderful way to remember people.”

And though the day is one deeply rooted in traditions, it’s also an evolving celebration.

“Throughout the centuries, there’s been different ways of celebrating Day of the Dead. The Aztecs celebrated it one way, the Spaniards celebrated it one way,” said Tar Macias, publisher at Hola America News. “And then when they came together, we celebrate it in a different way, bringing the cultures together. Even now we’re celebrating it in a very Mexican-American way in the Figge.”

One long-lasting tradition of the day is building an altar to display pictures of lost loved ones. Families will leave offerings, gifts that the dead loved in life, food, and drinks. The Figge has an altar built in their main hall, where you can leave tributes, or just come and reflect on lives well lived.

The altar will be there through November 1st and 2nd, when the holiday is officially recognized.

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