YMCA will host Day of the Dead celebration in Medina on Oct. 28

Posted 16 October 2023 at 2:23 pm

New to festival this year: ofrenda installations by Spanish class students from Medina and Kendall

(Left) Photo courtesy of T.C. Owens: Pictured form left include Xochitl Rosario, Lola Alvarado and Gladys Rosario in Dia de Muertos face paint during the 2019 Day of the Dead celebration. (Right) photo courtesy of Karen Canning: Porfiria Mijangos arranges fruit on the Oaxacan ofrenda at the 2022 Day of the Dead Celebration.

Press Release, Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council (GO Art!)

MEDINA – GO Art! is happy to invite you to our Mexican Día de los Muertos celebration, co-sponsored by the Orleans County YMCA, Mariachi de Oro Mexican Grill, and Maizal Mexican Kitchen.

Join us on Saturday, Oct. 28, at the Orleans County YMCA, 306 Pearl St., Medina, from 3 to 7 p.m. and learn about and enjoy this holiday that remembers ancestors, with free activities for the whole family.

The festivities will include Mexican crafts, face painting, dance and music performances, ofrenda displays, and special food tastings. All activities will continue throughout the day: a full schedule can be found at www.MedinaDoD.com.

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 observance of All Saints and All Souls Days on November 1 and 2, the celebration also includes images and ideas about the roles of ancestors in our lives that trace back to Mexico’s indigenous peoples.  Tradition holds 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.

“It’s wonderful to partner with the YMCA, along with the continuing support of local Medina businesses and community members” said Karen Canning, director of GLOW Traditions at GO Art!

 Mexican celebrations of the holiday often include animated skeletons, colorfully decorated skulls (calaveras), and elaborately cut tissue paper banners, emphasizing life’s continuing vibrancy in the midst of mortality.

These attendees show off their sugar skulls during the 2022 Day of the Dead Celebration in Medina.

Local business owners and community groups are hosting workshops in such arts, including sugar skulls, paper flowers, flags, and banners, and paper masks. Hosts and volunteers include Della’s Chocolates, The Downtown Browsery, Oak Orchard Girl Scouts, and Medina High School students.

Canalside Tattoos will offer temporary tattoos, Case-Nic Cookies will have Day of the Dead themed cookies for sale, and vendors including Las Toxicas will feature Mexican jewelry and clothing for purchase. Far Out Faces will host face painting, and Mariachi de Oro will provide samples of Mexican hot chocolate and pan de muerto (bread of the dead), a typical food of the holiday. Maizal Mexican Kitchen will offer several items for sale, including tamales, fruit with tajin, and snacks.

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.  Members of the Rosario family will again create a large ofrenda at the YMCA in the style of their hometown in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Attendees can contribute to a community ofrenda, by placing a candle (electric, provided) and adding a remembrance of loved ones. New this year will be ofrenda installations created by Spanish class students from Medina and Kendall, as part of field trips to the YMCA prior to the event.

Photos courtesy of Karen Canning. Karla Alcala, left, with musicians and dancers from Alma de Mexico at the 2022 Day of the Dead Celebration.

Mexican dance and music performances will be presented at 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. by Alma de México, a group from Rochester led by Karla Alcalá.  A former member of a folkloric dance group in Mexico, Karla now teaches community members traditional dance from a variety of regions. Live music will also be provided by La Marimba, a marimba band from Buffalo, led by Tiffany Nicely.

Everyone is invited to join in the fun, and feel free to come in Day of the Dead themed outfits.

We also welcome artists—Dan Butler, Ted Canning and Ruben Ornelas—from the GLOW Creatives collective, supported by a 2-year grant from Creatives Rebuild New York. They will assist with face painting, sound reinforcement, and community ofrendas, respectively.