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San Antonio's World Heritage Office will celebrate Día de los Muertos with free virtual program


  • Courtesy Photo / City of San Antonio World Heritage Office
The City of San Antonio World Heritage Office will celebrate Día de los Muertos with a free online program on Sunday, November 1, and Monday, November 2.

Viewers will learn about the history of the holiday, its rituals, symbolism, indigenous roots and gastronomical connections.

“Día de los Muertos is a time we remember and celebrate our loved ones who have passed, and a time to pause and reflect on our cultural and familial traditions,” District 3 Councilwoman Rebecca J. Viagran said in a statement. “This year, more than any other, it’s important we take the time to honor and be thankful for the loved ones in our lives.”

The virtual event will begin at 4 p.m. on November 1 with Mission Marquee Plaza's "Día de los Muertos: Celebrando las Misiones — 300 Years of Mission San Jose." The video will be available on World Heritage's YouTube and Mission Marquee's Facebook.

The event will include guest speakers talking about the history of the holiday, traditions, presentations and dancing.

The celebration will include "Alive in Memory & Spirit," an outdoor art exhibit that features work from 11 San Antonio artists and curated by Rigoberto Luna. The work will include traditional and non-traditional portraits of those who have died and are being honored.

  • Courtesy Photo / City of San Antonio World Heritage Office
Mission Marquee Plaza will display the portraits from November 1 through the end of December. They'll be available to view from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“Learning about these histories was equally fulfilling as working with each of the artists. Each artwork is as unique and rich as the subjects they portray,” Luna said in a statement. “The opportunity to work directly with descendant families made it all the more special because these stories are not only essential to the mission communities, but also to the fabric of San Antonio's history.”

Viewers will also have a chance to learn about the history, origins and cultural significance of tamales and tamaladas in San Antonio with the virtual Tamal Institute series "Tamales and Día de los Muertos" on November 2 at 6 p.m.

The virtual series will be hosted by the San Antonio UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy and will conclude in December with the third installment on the tradition of tamal making during the holidays.

“Traditions bring together loved ones, and tamal making is one that has been doing that for generations,” said Colleen Swain, director of the World Heritage Office. “Food plays an important role in the practices of Día de los Muertos and we are excited to share a deeper meaning and understanding of these through this year’s virtual program.”

Participants can register online and will be sent a link to watch the program.

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