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Colorful Celebrations

by Mary Alice Carnes, Community Relations Director

Halloween and Dia de los Muertos are synonymous for me now. I grew up celebrating Halloween in South Texas with school carnivals, trick or treating, and carving pumpkins. As an adult whose parents have now passed away, my tradition now incorporates Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead, the Mexican tradition of celebrating the dead.

The skull photo above is taken is just outside a cemetery in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico where we would visit my uncle’s grave-site in safer times. We would make this visit and one to the

My family on Dia de los Muertos in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico.

Catholic cemetery across the border in Laredo, Texas where most of my mother’s and father’s relatives are buried.

For our family, Dia de los Muertos involves cleaning relative’s grave-sites, dressing them up with long lasting artificial flowers potted inside coffee cans we saved which are dressed with colorful foil papers and ribbons. We also place our loved one’s favorite foods on the gravesites. It’s a very special time and can be quite a powerful experience because you are among many families doing the same all around you at the cemetery. After a while there is a sea of color everywhere you look. It’s hard to feel anything but joy.

I love the idea that creativity can develop from family traditions. What celebrations bring out the Creative Artist in your family?

About creativeactionaustin

We are based in Austin, Texas and reach more than 16,000 young people every year through our unique blend of theatre and education programs.Our programs expose young people to critical social problems and offer opportunities for them to creatively think about how they can be a part of solutions to these problems. Creative Action is a unique blend of art and education – for us, the two are intertwined. We believe that using the arts as a teaching method provides a fun, engaging and inspiring way to learn – it incorporates the whole mind and body.

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