Newport to Celebrate Day of the Dead
Story provided by Chris Chandler
Newport residents will celebrate Día de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, on Saturday, November 2, with a traditional procession and celebration of life, opportunities to privately remember and honor lost loved ones, and a bonfire on the beach.
The holiday celebrates the day prehispanic Mexicans believed that the dead returned each year to visit the living. Although it originated in Mexico, the holiday is celebrated around the world and in many cultures just after Halloween each year. While it is also celebrated with masks and costumes that feature skulls and skeletons and other representations of death, however, the holiday represents a very different take on death than is typical of Halloween celebrations.
Rather than focusing on fear of death, it celebrates the lives of the departed and invites their returning spirits to party and feast with the living. It’s a day for joy and happy remembrance, not for grief and mourning. “It’s about honoring the dead,” said Karen Candelario, one of the organizers of the Newport event, “It’s very, very positive; it’s not a sad thing at all. In many cultures, the layer between the living and the dead is considered to be the thinnest at this time. It’s a way for us to commune in a positive way with the memories of the folks who have moved on.”
Initiated last year by Newport artist and musician Ann Miller, the family-friendly, all ages event, is open to all and everyone is encouraged to wear traditional Day of the Dead masks or makeup and to come in costume. Participants are also invited to bring drums or other small acoustic instruments, light sticks, and flowers or other offerings for the deceased,
Participants will gather, rain or shine, at Don Davis Park, at the west end of Olive Street across from the Newport Performing Arts Center, beginning at 5:00 p.m., for drumming by members of the Newport Community Drum Circle, dancing, and other music. Time will be provided for private remembrances, and there will be a brief non-denominational group remembrance; everyone is invited to honor their departed loved ones in whatever way is appropriate to their own traditions.
The group will proceed together at 6:00 p.m. to the Nye Beach Turnaround, near the Visual Arts Center, where a large beach bonfire is planned (weather permitting) with fire dancing and more music and drumming. If it’s too rainy for a bonfire on the beach, the organizers said, the celebration will move directly to the partially sheltered courtyard at Café Mundo, at 209 NW Coast Street, in Nye Beach, where the owners have offered the use of their large outdoor stage for dancing and drumming.
For more information contact Candelario at 541-265-9500, firstname.lastname@example.org or Chandler Davis at 541-272-4615, email@example.com