Bethlehem Press

Tuesday, December 10, 2019
PRESS PHOTOS BY ED COURRIERThe completed Día de los Muertos altar viewed with candles lit and the lights off. Copyright - © Ed Courrier PRESS PHOTOS BY ED COURRIERThe completed Día de los Muertos altar viewed with candles lit and the lights off. Copyright - © Ed Courrier
Adriana Santos explains that the family of the deceased would place the departed’s favorite dishes on the Día de los Muertos altar, in addition to pan de muerto (the bread of the dead). Copyright - © Ed Courrier Adriana Santos explains that the family of the deceased would place the departed’s favorite dishes on the Día de los Muertos altar, in addition to pan de muerto (the bread of the dead). Copyright - © Ed Courrier
From left, Shawnnah Drey and daughters Monroe and Symarah with papel picado (perforated paper) designs they created. Copyright - © Ed Courrier From left, Shawnnah Drey and daughters Monroe and Symarah with papel picado (perforated paper) designs they created. Copyright - © Ed Courrier
Adriana Santos assists Monroe Drey with cutting Mexican folk art designs into folded tissue paper. Copyright - © Ed Courrier Adriana Santos assists Monroe Drey with cutting Mexican folk art designs into folded tissue paper. Copyright - © Ed Courrier
Symarah creates a decorative marigold from tissue paper and a green pipe cleaner. Copyright - © Ed Courrier Symarah creates a decorative marigold from tissue paper and a green pipe cleaner. Copyright - © Ed Courrier
At right, Monroe Drey shares her crayon with her sister Symarah as they work on designs for their skull masks. Copyright - © Ed Courrier At right, Monroe Drey shares her crayon with her sister Symarah as they work on designs for their skull masks. Copyright - © Ed Courrier
Santos and the Drey sisters try out the skull masks they had just decorated. Copyright - © Ed Courrier Santos and the Drey sisters try out the skull masks they had just decorated. Copyright - © Ed Courrier
Zach Kleemeyer presents Adriana Santos with a Pa. Partners in the Arts grant for her Día de los Muertos project at Easton’s Sigal Museum. Copyright - © Ed Courrier Zach Kleemeyer presents Adriana Santos with a Pa. Partners in the Arts grant for her Día de los Muertos project at Easton’s Sigal Museum. Copyright - © Ed Courrier

Bethlehem Public Library

Tuesday, November 12, 2019 by Ed Courrier Special to the Bethlehem Press in Local News

‘Day of the Dead’ comes alive

Adriana Santos brought the Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) traditions of Mexico alive Oct 31 at the Bethlehem Public Library’s South Side Branch. She explained the annual three-day observation has its origins in the blending of the cultures and religions of the indigenous people of the Americas and the Spanish who conquered them.

Santos said the festivities were dedicated to the goddess La Calavera Catrina also known as “Lady of the Dead.” Santos walked through the steps of setting up an altar to honor the deceased. She dedicated her altar to Mexican painter Frida Kahlo (1907-1954).

Along with a portrait of the artist, Santos placed images of favorite traditional Mexican dishes, as well as paper Aztec marigolds, representations of sugar skulls, and other objects that would possibly be considered important to the deceased. She said families would present these ofrendas (offerings) to attract the souls of their ancestors so they could celebrate the holiday together.

Festively decorated calaveras (skulls) and skeletons, influenced by Mexican political cartoonist and illustrator José Guadalupe Posada (1852-1913), adorned masks, poems written about the dead, and candy.

Following her presentation on the Día de los Muertos traditions, Santos taught attendees how to create their own Day of the Dead masks, paper marigolds and papel picado (perforated paper) from folded tissue paper.

The Día de los Muertos educational project which was presented at both north and south branches of the Bethlehem Public Library was funded by a 2019-2020 Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts (PPA) grant through the Lehigh Valley Arts Council.