Dia de los Muertos invites all attendees to celebrate those who have died

Carla Jean Whitley
Glenwood Springs Post Independent


Dia De Los Muertos Community Celebration

Friday, 5-8 p.m. Celebrate Day of the Dead beginning at 5 p.m. at Third Street Center, 520 S. Third St. Festivities there include altar viewing, face painting, Mexican hot chocolate and other treats. At 6:15 p.m., those gathered will participate in a procession to Thunder River Theatre, 67 Promenade. From there, the Que Viva ceremony will begin. Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Folklorico will perform at Thunder River at 7 and 7:45 p.m. At the same times, El Colectivo will perform the original puppet show “A Delfinita la Visita La Chokani / Delfinita Gets A Visit From La Chokani” at The Launchpad, 76 S. Fourth St.

Third Street Center, Thunder River Theatre and The Launchpad, Carbondale | Free |

Altars have been erected, food prepared. Friday night, communities will come together to celebrate the memories of loved ones who have died, and invite their souls back for a day.

Dia de los Muertos is a tradition with roots in southern Mexico, and the local celebration in Carbondale brings Anglo, Hispanic and Latino communities together.

“It’s a great opportunity to share our traditions and customs we had in Mexico,” Valley Settlement Program’s Judith Alvarez said through a translator. “But even more importantly, it’s an opportunity to share with children.”

The event, which coincides with the town’s First Friday celebration, is a collaboration between a number of area entities. Valley Settlement Project has been involved since 2012, and Dia de los Muertos is an opportunity for the organization to connect its program participants to the community as a whole.

VSP provides early childhood education and parent and adult engagement programs to immigrant families in the Roaring Fork Valley. Since VSP became involved in Dia de los Muertos, local Hispanic and Latino community members have been more easily able to contribute their strengths to the event. Program families prepare food, such as tamales and Mexican hot chocolate, and lend a more homemade, authentic touch.

“This is a way to let them know there’s more outside the programs (VSP offers),” executive director Jon Fox-Rubin said.

Carbondale Arts and Thunder River Theatre Company began hosting Dia de los Muertos celebrations more than a decade ago and ultimately combined for the annual tradition. Richard Lyon has been involved since the beginning and regularly leads the event’s invocation.

“During this day, the dead ones we loved who are always with us come back and spend a day with the family,” Lyon said. “It’s wonderful for kids because it takes some of the sting out of death.”

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