Wherever you go in the world, rest assured that there will be some form of celebration of the dead. It might be All Souls’ Day in Poland, a time for visiting graveyards, tidying them up and quietly remembering and honouring the dead. It might be the typical US Halloween, a full-on explosion of dressing up and demanding chocolate, then gobbling it until you feel sick, or throwing loo roll on trees and cars if you don’t get it. It might be something akin to China’s Ghost Festival, with burning of incense and paper money to provide for your loved ones in the afterlife. Or you might find yourself in Mexico celebrating the Día de los Muertos: the Day of the Dead.
The holiday usually takes place on 1-2 November, but no-one is expecting you to miss out on your own culture’s annual Halloween piss-up. The Book Club is taking the opportunity on 7 November 2011 to spread the word about Mexico’s yearly celebration by running an event encompassing all the traditional aspects of the Día de los Muertos. This is a special edition of the ‘We Don’t Speak Mexican’ events designed to teach you all about Mexican culture.
So what’s going to be involved? Well, bear in mind that the Day of the Dead celebrations usually take place in graveyards at night, with decorated tombstones, music, food and tequila. It would seem appropriate, then, that the event will involve a Mexican hot chocolate or two. But this is a celebration of departed loved ones, and so attendees are asked to bring along an image of a loved one who has passed away.
You will be using the images to build traditional Mexican altars to commemorate them, and sharing stories about your loved ones, as well as learning a few choice Spanish phrases (and you will be tested later, so listen up to win some Mexican goodies!).
At the end of the evening there will also be a screening of Hasta los Huesos (Down to the Bone), a Mexican claymation film about a man who is buried alive (hang on, don’t stop reading) and descends to the Underworld. It’s considered to be one of the best animation short films around, and has a nice macabre touch to it.
The event is happening on Monday 7 November from 7pm-10pm at:
The Book Club
100-106 Leonard Street