Local events celebrate the dead

Museum to host Día de los Muertos: Calaveras y Ofrendas

During Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, sweet calaveras (sugar skulls) are placed on home altars. Names are written on the skulls that serve as a token of remembrance, and the deceased’s favorite foods and drinks are placed as ofrendas (offerings) for their return. Learn more about these offerings that are based on the traditions of Meso-Americans and Catholicism during Día de los Muertos: Calaveras y Ofrendas, which will be held at the Museum of South Texas History on Saturday, Nov. 3, from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The event will highlight the traditions of celebrating and honoring the deceased through a community altar exhibit, which will be on display from Nov. 3 to Nov. 18. The vibrant and festive centerpiece is an altar sponsored by the museum’s Collections Department. The altar will feature photographs of unidentified persons from the museum collection, which are currently housed in the Margaret H. McAllen Memorial Archives. Those nameless individuals will not only be honored and remembered but are a reminder of the importance of preservation practices and the need to document family photographs.

A tradition of this spectacular event is showcasing local talent on the performance stage, which will be located on the museum’s parking lot. Performances will include a variety of musicians and dancers from as far away as Roma and as close as Edinburg. Kicking off the event and performances is the Edinburg North High School Mariachi Oro, an award-winning high school mariachi.

Following the lively performance by Edinburg North High School, a new and special performance by Edinburg-based Conceptos Entidad Dancística, directed by Catí and Raul Gomez, will perform to the beats from Totome, a brother-and-sister musical duo. This talented duo from Tonalá, Jalisco, Mexico, mixes traditional Mexican music with electronic elements and other instruments from across the world. After this musical act, local folklórico groups such as Edinburg Folklórico Dance Team, PSJA North Grupo Folklórico Ichtequi, PSJA Liberty Middle School Grupo Folklórico Águila, PSJA LBJ Middle School Grupo Folklórico Tlacatsintli, PSJA North Early College High School and RGV Folklórico Dance Company will perform.

And, for the first time at the museum, local Tejano singer Veronique Medrano will perform at 5:20 p.m. Medrano launched her debut album “Encantadora” in 2013 and has since been nominated three times at the Tejano Music Awards. The Brownsville native will be available after the performance to sign copies of any one of her three albums including “Loteria” that can be purchased on site.

Grupo Folklórico Juvenil de Palmview and Las Palmas Community Center Ballet Folklórico will entertain the crowds with their energetic routines and colorful costumes. Following these two dance groups, Roma native Melenie Lissette Gonzalez will perform at 6:20 p.m. Earlier this year, Gonzalez was the first female teenager to win the Conjunto Grand Prize in the 2018 Texas Folklife Big Squeeze competition. She started playing accordion at the age of 14, and was taught by instructors Jesus and Jaime Lozano at Roma High School. Let’s see this talented young woman play.

Following Gonzalez, the final performances will include Grupo Folklórico Herencia de mi Tierra, Danzart Centro Dancístico, Edinburg North High School Ritmo Dorado, Mission Parks and Recreation Ballet Folklórico, Edinburg High School Ballet Folklórico Kuxtal and Grupo Folklórico Coyametl and El Mariachi Fuego Azul from PSJA Southwest Early College High School.

There will be plenty of family activities to enjoy inside and around the museum, in addition to dance and musical performances. Bring cash to purchase a sugar skull and decorate it with supplies provided by the museum. Free crafts and activities will include writing a memory of a loved one who has passed on a paper calavera (skull), decorating edible calaveritas made out of marshmallows, and creating your own paper calavera mask and cempasúchil (marigold) from tissue paper. Be sure to take photographs to remember all the fun at the life-sized monarch wings, eight-foot-tall flower archway and the station of Los Liberadores, a living-history group. If you want your children to learn more about Día de los Muertos, Book Buzz, a student literacy organization from UTRGV, will host book presentations in the River Highway gallery from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Also, be sure to make time to explore the signature Rio Grande Legacy exhibition, which will include museum volunteers in costumes, and discover the history of this bicultural region.

The special event admission fees are $8 for adults (ages 18+); $6 for seniors with ID (ages 62+), active military and students with ID (ages 13+); $5 for children (ages 4 to 12) and free for children ages 3 and younger. FRIENDS of MOSTHistory are admitted free as a benefit of FRIENDship and must provide an active FRIENDship card to enter free. 


Day of the Dead Altar Opening Ceremony

Thursday Nov. 1 the McAllen Chamber of Commerce and the Mexican Cultural Center will host a ceremony for an altar that will be on display through Saturday Nov. 2 at 7 p.m at the McAllen International Airport.

The McAllen Cultural Center will showcase some of Mexico's more ancient traditions through a display inspired by Day of the Dead Celebrations.

The altar will consist of a Xochimilco scale replica display with life-sized talavera dolls, an “Altar de Muertos” and live Catrinas visiting on scheduled times.

Scheduled times are as follows: Thursday Nov. 1 at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. as well as Friday at the same times. Saturday Nov. 3 the showcase will be at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.


Dia de los Muertos Festival

The Museum of Art & Science will have hands on art and science activities and altars from 9 a.m. - 8 p.m. There will also be vendors and snack trucks from 4 p.m. - 8 p.m.

UTRGV Professor Servando Z Hinojosa will present a lecture “Skulls and Tzompantli in Popular Culture” at 5 p.m. There will be a performance by Mariachi Nuevo Cascabel from 6:30 p.m. - 7 p.m.

The event will cost $5 per person. The museum is located at 1900 W. Nolana Ave. in McAllen.