Dia de los Muertos

St. Francis House, Gallery 301 celebrate Day of the Dead Nov. 1, 2

Dia de Los Muertos, the dignified patrón of American Halloween, will be celebrated this weekend in Hood River and Odell.

Groups in the community are hoping to bring north a cultural celebration native to Mexico, one with similar roots to Halloween, but grounded in a different philosophy.

On Nov. 1, community volunteers will host El Dia de Los Muertos from 5 to 7 p.m. at St. Francis House, 3686 Davis Drive, Odell. The event is sponsored by the Hood River County Library.

Enjoy tacos from Michoacán Sports Bar & Grill, Spanish story time with Gale Arnold and fun activities. Anyone may bring pictures or something personal of a deceased loved one.

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On Nov. 2, Gallery 301 hosts its second annual Day of the Dead art and music event, billed as “a fusion of cultures.”

A wall-sized shrine by Hood River artist M. Eugene will be unveiled at noon, and the gallery will be open all afternoon for quiet remembrance. Seven more artists will also have their works on display.

M. Eugene described Dia de los Muertos as “a traditional Mexican holiday whose roots are a blend of Spanish and Aztec traditions remembering the dead.”

Gallery 301 will provide prayer candles for guests to make remembrances. More personal offerings of food, objects and photographs are welcome to be placed at the shrine for those wishing to make a more personal remembrance.

“I like the concept of Dia de los Muertos; it’s the celebration of the dead, and it’s a chance to share music and dance cross-culturally,” said gallery co-owner Steffen Lunding.

Things get louder starting at 7 p.m. with music and dancing, including Aztec belly dancing by Raquel Nature N Nehtriti and music by Grimey Griff. Contributing artists Nate Chavez, Dan White, Emily Kay, Nathan Petz, Kim Lindemyer, Katie Wallace, and Lisa Peterson will also display works.

In the gallery’s 2012 event, guests painted on stones, or wrapped them with rosaries, or left traditional candy, empty tequila bottles, roses, and religious candles.

“Dia de los Muertos gives us all an opportunity to remember and grieve while allowing the beauty of lives past and present to flourish,” M. Eugene said.

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