The Michelson Museum of Art has officially announced the return of its annual Day of the Dead celebration on Saturday, Oct. 30, from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

The annual event is a celebration of the traditional Día de los Muertos altar and traditional holiday, which is a way to pay tribute to loved ones that are no longer with us.

Creative Director Dinora Harris said that the altar traditionally has a series of different components that regularly include yellow marigolds, sugar skulls, candles, photos of the deceased ones, papel picado or cut tissue-paper designs, as well as food and beverages offerings.

“During Día de los Muertos, it is believed that the spirits of the dead return home and spend time with their families. To welcome them, the family builds an altar in their honor. The customs surrounding this celebration are based on ancient traditions traced to the Aztec and Maya civilizations in Mexico,” said Harris.

The event was started over three years ago by museum volunteer Audrey Lozano, who will once again design the altar this year.

Lozano said she celebrated the annual Day of the Dead event every year growing up in Northern Mexico, but it wasn’t until a class trip to Michoacán, Mexico that she got to witness the deeper cultural tradition.

She said that, while on a trip with her school class for photography, the group went to visit the small island of Janitzio in Lake Pátzcuaro, in the city of Michoacán.

One of the world most famous Day of the Dead celebrations take place on the island every year, with family members gathering together at grave sites to set up altars. The family then spends the whole night at the grave site, cooking and eating dinner there with their whole family as part of the yearly tradition.

“It’s very amazing,” Lozano said, “We weren’t allowed to take any photos when we were there. People were at the grave sites and they were either praying or putting final touches on the altars.”

She said that the vast range in ways that the community celebrates the holiday was very powerful to her, which inspired her years later to bring the traditional to the Michelson.

“A lot of people have heard of it, but they don’t know what it is,” Lozano said, “This is a way for us to educate them and to share it with them.”

The Michelson Museum of Art will also have sugar skull decorating stations, traditional Día de los Muertos bread, music, and much more at the regular event this month.

The Día de Los Muertos altar will be on exhibition at the museum from Oct. 30 to Nov. 3.

For more information community members can contact Harris at (903) 935-9480 or harris@michelsonmuseum.org.

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