Some of us like to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in honor of Mexican independence, but the true day of Mexican independence started with Father Hidalgo’s “grito” or cry of pain brought about by Spanish oppression on September 16, 1810. All of Central America declared its independence on September 16, 1821, and Columbus Day, or Dia de la Raza, also occurs on October 12. In addition, Dia de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a national holiday that started centuries ago by indigenous Mexicans celebrated on November 2 of every year. Thus, Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated in the fall every year. Here are four events that convey the richness of the culture enjoyed by our neighbors to the south.

(credit: Minnesota Historical Society)

(credit: Minnesota Historical Society)

“Death Has a Permit: Jose Guadalupe Posada”
Minnesota History Center
345 W. Kellogg Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55102
(651) 259-3000
www.mnhs.org

Dates: Oct. 1 through Nov. 1, 2014

The irony of many an artist’s life is that fame and fortune eludes them while they are living. Posada died in poverty and was buried in an unmarked grave at the age of 60 in 1913 only to be remembered and revered a decade later by artists nurtured during the Mexican revolution. In his lifetime, he produced an estimated 15,000 works of art portraying nearly every facet of Mexican life, many of which were memorable satire on politics and society of the day. See the best of Posada in 38 select reproduction prints courtesy of the Consulate of Mexico in St. Paul, Jose Guadalupe.

Minnesota History Center
345 W. Kellogg Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55102
(651) 259-3000
www.mnhs.org

Dates: Oct. 26, 2014

Centuries ago, indigenous Mexicans strengthened their connections to their ancestors during Dia de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. To this day, it is an important holiday in Mexico and is gaining interest in other countries. The History Center helps to reinforce this rich cultural heritage for future generations through an annual family day program. Come try some Day of the Dead bread and wash it down with traditional Mexican hot chocolate. Everyone is welcome to play traditional Mexican games, participate in art workshops printmaking, make miniature dioramas called nichos and decorate clay skulls. Local students and professional artists are fashioning striking altars, called ofrendas, for display. Teatro del Pueblo will be presenting puppetry. Other artists will add to the festivities with music and dance.

Wellstone Center
179 Robie St. E.
St. Paul, MN 55107
(651) 789-2500
www.wellstonecenter.com

Neighborhood House
(651) 789-2500
www.neighb.org

Date: TBD

“We remember our loved ones passed with ofrendas,” says Felipe Day, a member of Danza Mexica. “We place things like the honored person’s favorite coffee cup and maybe a sweet roll in the ofrendas much like you would paste pictures in a memory book,” he explained. Art students at Guadalupe Alternative Programs High School, under the leadership of art teacher/counselor Rene Lopez, are preparing many ofrendas and skulls and some images of Jose Guadalupe Posada’s famed century-old “Calavera de la Catrina” for the event. Local residents may also bring a personal ofrenda to honor their lost loved one. See Danza Mexica play traditional drums and flutes while dancers strut in their colorful plumes. Be there for a traditional meal for all to enjoy until the food is gone, made available by the Neighborhood House.

Midtown Global Exchange

credit: CBS

Midtown Global Market
920 E. Lake St.
Minneapolis, MN 55407
(612) 872-4041
www.midtownglobalmarket.org

Dates: Oct. 26 to Nov. 2, 2014

There is plenty to do and see in south Minneapolis for Mexico’s national holiday, Día de los Muertos, with six days of festivities and activities. Catch the opening ceremony at the Midtown Global Market Central Plaza featuring an ofrenda display, the Kalpulli KetzalCoatlicue dancers, mariachi musicians and food samples highlighting Mexican cuisine. El Colegio School is displaying ofrendas midweek and will launch Friday’s Procession and Community Performance. The procession gathers at 42nd and 16th Avenue, walking with Kalpulli KetzalCoatlicue dancers to El Colegio School, where all can enjoy performances by El Colegio students, folkloric dancers and mariachi music. Catch mask making at Mercado Central at 1515 East Lake Street, also taking place on Friday. Back at Midtown Global Market on Saturday, catch a Paraguayan Harpist, Pan de Muerto samples, food specials, crafts, candy, face painting and entertainment near El Burrito Mercado and Manny’s Tortas.

Related: Best Of MN: Mexican Restaurant

Also read about how local restaurants celebrate Mexican independence at Best Ways To Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month In Minnesota.

Robin Johnson was born in Annandale, Minn. and graduated from Richfield High School and then the University of Minnesota where he studied Political Science, Business and Industrial Relations. A writer for Examiner.com, he also consults with a variety of organizations and individuals helping them develop and grow. His work can be found at Examiner.com.

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