Tradition honors family members who have died

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Leticia Servin arranges her offerendas in preparation for today's Día de Los Muertos celebration at the Nevada State Museum.

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Leticia Servin arranges her offerendas in preparation for today's Día de Los Muertos celebration at the Nevada State Museum.

The Halloween costumes are stashed away and the candy has made its way to the half-off section, but the celebration of those who came before is just beginning.

Today from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Nevada State Museum celebrates El Día de los Muertos - the Day of the Dead.

"It's not to be confused with Halloween at all," said museum spokeswoman Deborah Stevenson. "Even though they fall around the same time of year, Halloween is a very individual celebration.

"The Day of the Dead brings together families, friends and neighbors to honor those who've passed on. To say 'death surrounds us' but in a warm and friendly way - a way that recognizes those who've come before and what they loved to do."

The museum will come to life with a day of activities ranging from stories and songs, dance and poetry readings, to an art craftshop where participants can join in traditional Day of the Dead activities like paper cutting, and sugar-skull decorating.

"This is our second (Day of the Dead) celebration - we started it to be more inclusive with the Latino community, but really, it's something everyone can embrace, regardless of their background," Stevenson said.

Museum volunteer and Carson City resident Susan Bunker-Niles said she was raised in California before relocating to Northern Nevada. In spite of living near large concentrations of Latino population, Bunker-Niles said the Day of the Dead celebration is one that is "relatively new" to her.

"It's about recognizing how different cultures honor those who've come before," she said. "For me, it really hit home when I was talking to the wife of my grandson's baseball coach. She said she's so excited to come to the museum and celebrate, to bring her family and show them the traditions."

Museum spokeswoman Stevenson said even those of Latino descent who were born and raised in Carson City attended last year's event to see first-hand how the celebration is carried out.

"Those traditions don't die," Stevenson said. "But some came to me last year and said they couldn't have a big celebration at their home.

"This is a way for a community to congregate - as it's meant to be."

The day's events will also coincide with the highlight of the "Voces Latinas" art exhibit featuring 15 artists and highlights of Latino works from 1921 to the present, including early prints by Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco.

A Voces Latinas student art contest, sponsored by Wells Fargo, was judged this week and winners will be awarded tomorrow.

"It's really a way to tie the (Day of the Dead) celebration in with the exhibit and honor some students for their creativity," Stevenson said.

"I think tomorrow will bring out people from all communities," said Carson resident and museum volunteer Alice Dickson. "It's a theme everyone can understand and a celebration people can embrace."

• Contact reporter Andrew Pridgen at or 881-1219.

If you go

WHAT: El Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)

WHERE: Nevada State Museum, 600 N. Carson St.

WHEN: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. today

VOLUNTEERS: Latino Parents Committee, Carson City Citizen Outreach, WNC, Sierra Bakery, Hispanic Services and Wells Fargo Bank along with several museum volunteers are making the celebration possible for 500-plus participants.

The day: Includes song, dance, a Day of the Dead history, arts, crafts, prizes and food.

Art competition winners

Student Art Competition winners at the Nevada State Museum:

• First place, $100 cash award: Nick Martinez

• Second place, $50 cash award: Josue Guerrero

• Third place, $30 cash award: Katelyn Kraiprai

• Honorable mention, $20 cash award: Thanairy Gomez

• Special recognition, $10 cash awards: Nichole Carter, Karina Tevtli, Megghann Evans, Kirsten Or, Meghan Craig and Amber Lee.

All winners are from Carson High School.

Prize-winning art works will remain on display in the museum auditorium through Nov. 18.

The $200 for the first four prizes was donated by Wells Fargo Bank and $60 was donated by Friends of the Nevada State Museum for the special recognition prizes.

For information, contact Deborah Stevenson, curator of education at dasteven@clan. or 687-4810, ext. 237.


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