Day of the Dead celebration at Nevada State Museum in Carson City

A family takes a look at one of the altars created for the annual Day of the Dead Community Celebration at the Nevada State Museum.

A family takes a look at one of the altars created for the annual Day of the Dead Community Celebration at the Nevada State Museum.

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One of Northern Nevada’s most popular cultural events – annual Day of the Dead Community Celebration – returns Friday and Saturday to the Nevada State Museum with a plethora of family friendly activities.

“Our Day of the Dead celebration is one of the most exciting and popular events held at the museum,” said Museum Director Myron Freedman. “We are so pleased to share this ancient and vivid cultural celebration with the community, and this year we have gained more friends and partners who help make it possible.”

The event is cosponsored by the Nevada State Museum, Western Nevada College and the Carson City Cultural Commission. Admission is free Friday night and Saturday.

Day of the Dead, also known as El Dia de los Muertos, is a holiday rooted in Mexican and indigenous observances dating back to the time of the Aztecs. Today it is celebrated by people of Mexican ancestry living around the world.

The holiday focuses on family and friends gathering to remember loved one who have died. A central feature of the holiday are altars to the dead filled with offerings of their favorite things to welcome them on their journey.

“We are delighted to partner with the Nevada State Museum in bringing El Dia de Los Muertos celebration to the entire community,” says Lupe Ramirez, WNC Latino Cohort Coordinator. “The students from the WNC Latino Cohort are super excited to volunteer at this event where they have the opportunity to network and to share their traditions with our diverse community.”

Friday’s evening’s opening event will be held in the museum’s Dema Guinn Concourse starting at 5 p.m., and will include Mexican-style hot chocolate with milk donated by Model Dairy and “pan de muertos” bread donated by El Centro Market as refreshments.

The creative altars decorated with offerings and created by school and community groups will be unveiled. The altars will be judged by local celebrities and the winners will receive awards sponsored by the Friends of the Nevada State Museum and La Hacienda Market and Grill. No reservations are needed and all ages and cultures are welcome to attend.

Saturday’s festivities start at 10 a.m. (doors open at 8:30 a.m.) and will feature performances by Ballet Folklorico Flor de Castilla, Danza Angeles de Guadalupe, El Trio de Dos, and Nuestra Herencia Mexicana. There will also be Day of the Dead crafts like decorating sugar skulls, face painting, an altar exhibition, and a display of ceramic skulls made by Carson High School students.

Food trucks Hot Rodz and King of Kings will be participating in the festivities and attendees can preserve some memories in the photo booth.

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