Mexican holiday ‘Day of the Dead’ will be celebrated in downtown Medina on Thursday

Staff Reports Posted 28 October 2018 at 3:56 pm

File photo by Tom Rivers: Edgar Rosario had his face painted for the Dia de Los Muertos “Day of the Dead” celebration at Mariachi de Oro Mexican Grill in November 2014. Edgar is pictured near murals inside the restaurant near the bar. Thursday’s Day of the Dead in downtown Medina will include opportunities for face painting.

MEDINA – A popular Mexican holiday – Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) – will be celebrated in downtown Medina on Thursday, an effort led by the Mariachi de Oro Restaurant, the Medina Business Association, GO ART! and the New York State Council on the Arts.

The event is a chance to learn about and enjoy the Mexican holiday with activities from 3 to 8 p.m. The festivities will include crafts, face painting and food tastings at businesses on Main Street from 3 to 5:30 p.m., followed by a celebration from 6 to 8 p.m. one block away on West Center Street at the farmer’s market site.

Activities under a big tent will include live mariachi music, more food, dancing, and traditional Mexican arts displays. A full schedule can be found at

“We’re really excited to invite whoever wants to come,” said Leonel Rosario, co-owner of Mariachi. “We’re excited to bring people to Medina.”

Rosario’s restaurant has hosted the event before, but space is limited.

“Now there’s no limit,” he said. “The goal is for more people to enjoy it. We can only fit so many. There are more businesses involved. It’s going to be huge.”

Provided photos from GO Art! – Leonel Rosario, pictured with an ofrenda, will create an altar of food and flowers for Dia de Los Muertos on Thursday in Medina.

The Mexican Day of the Dead Celebration is a time of joyful remembrance of deceased loved ones, filled with an array of colors, scents, sounds and stories. Centered around the Christian observance of All Saints and All Souls Days on November 1 and 2, the celebration includes images and ideas about the roles of ancestors in our lives, that trace back to Mexico’s indigenous peoples.

Traditionally, people believe that this is the one time of the year when souls can return to earth for a day and commune with their families and friends. Families will clean and refresh gravesites of loved ones and spend the night in a candle-lit vigil in the cemetery with the whole community.

Artist Antonio Cruz Zavaleta will create a sand painting under the tent on Thursday. Created out of basic sand and colored pigments, the three-dimensional paintings can often be found in the streets of the Mexican city of Oaxaca alongside public ofrendas. They vary from simple scenes to elaborately shaded and constructed mosaics.

Beautiful altars (ofrendas) in homes welcome the returning souls and feature candles, wild marigolds, incense, photographs, mementos and loved ones’ favorite foods like fruit, tortillas, tamales, chocolate, and bread.

Rosario, who is also the chef at Mariachi de Oro, will create a large ofrenda at the tent festival site, in the style of his hometown in Oaxaca, Mexico. Artist Antonio Cruz Zavaleta will also create a sand painting under the tent, another decorative art found in Oaxaca for the holiday.  There will be a community altar available for attendees to decorate and add photos and memories of deceased loved ones.

Mexican celebrations of the holiday often include animated skeletons and colorfully decorated skulls (calaveras), emphasizing life’s continuing vibrancy in the midst of mortality. From 3 to 5:30 p.m. Medina downtown businesses are offering crafts based on Mexican traditional arts such as paper flowers and banners (papel picado), mask making, collages, bracelets, decorating sugar skulls and ceramic skulls, face painting, and temporary tattoos. Attendees will also enjoy food samples like pan de muerto (bread of the dead), cookies, Mexican tea and other culinary specialties.

Festivities under the tent will be capped with live music by the band, Mariachi Zelaya, and traditional food and beverages created by Mariachi de Oro Mexican Grille of Medina. Activities under the tent are free and open to all ages.

Crafts & Tastings on Main Street – 3 to 5:30 p.m. 


Bracelets – Ellen J Goods

Face Painting – Celebrity Day Spa

Flower Collages – Herbalty Cottage

Paper Mask Making – Meggie Moos

Francisco Rosario is pictured with the ofrenda, an altar that was at Mariachi de Oro for Dia de Los Muertos. An ofrenda will be available at the Farmer’s Market on West Center Street for attendees to decorate and add photos and memories of deceased loved ones.

Paper Banners – Rosenkrans Pharmacy

Paper Flowers – Creekside Floral

Paper Flowers – Della’s Chocolates

Free Sugar Skull Decals – Print Shop

Skull Mask – Filomena’s Favorites

Story Hour at 3:30 p.m. – The Book Shoppe

Sugar Skull Decorating (sugar) – Daniel’s (Main St.) presented by YMCA

Sugar Skull Painting (ceramics) – Brushstrokes

Temporary Tattoos – Canalside Tattoo

Sugar Skull Sweatshirts – Print Shop

Food & Drinks

Cookies – Case-Nic Cookies

Pan de Muerto bread – The Bread Basket

Mexican Herbal Tea – English Rose Tea Shoppe

Mexican Food & Drinks – Shirt Factory Cafe

West Center Street in tent at Farmer’s Market from 6 to 8 p.m.

Oaxacan Ofrenda by Leonel Rosario

Oaxacan Sand Painting by Antonio Cruz

Traditional Día de los Muertos food by Mariachi de Oro

Music and Dancing with Mariachi Band Zelaya

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