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Photo Courtesy of the Penn Museum. 
Photo Courtesy of the Penn Museum. 

CultureFest! Día de Los Muertos returns for its 10th year

After being held virtually last year, the event will return to some in-person festivities at the Penn Museum on Saturday, Oct. 23. 

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In 2011, the Mexican Cultural Center and the Mexican Consulate in Philadelphia partnered alongside the Penn Museum to put together the inaugural CultureFest! Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), an annual event that showcases the many vibrant traditions of Mexican culture. 

In Mexico, Día de los Muertos is a lively holiday which blends Indigenous Mexican beliefs and traditions with the Catholic celebrations of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, and is observed across Latin America and in Latino communities worldwide. 

The Penn Museum will be welcoming back the CultureFest! Día de los Muertos event for the tenth consecutive year this coming weekend. 

CultureFest! is often an introduction to important traditions that people may not have known about before,” said Tena Thomason, associate director of public engagement at the Penn Museum, in a press release. 

She further explained that the event welcomes people of all backgrounds to connect with stories from the many cultures represented in the Museum's collections.

“From firsthand perspectives,” added Thomason. 

After being held virtually in 2020 due to the pandemic, this year’s festivities will return to in-person. 

The CultureFest! Día de los Muertos event offers live music and dance performances at the Penn Museum’s historic Harrison Auditorium. 

As part of the event, guests can also enjoy official Global Guide tours of the Mexico and Central America Gallery — a collection of artifacts in the United States that highlight how those cultures both have their own languages and artistic traditions, while also being influenced by one another — led by a guide from Mexico.  

The event will also feature storytelling sessions, a 15-minute “Daily Dig” artifact spotlight in both English and Spanish, a community altar contest and make-and-take art activities.

“Pan de Muerto” (Day of the Dead bread) and Mexican hot chocolate will also be served at the Mosaic Garden at the event, as well. 

Each year, the centerpiece of the CultureFest! Dia de los Muertos is a meaningful work of art that marks one of the most important traditions during Day of the Dead in Mexico. 

This year, an elaborate communal altar, designed by internationally-recognized Mexican artist and muralist Cesar Viveros, in the Rotunda will be displayed to honor those who have passed away.

The all-day event will have activities available for families and individuals of all ages, each with the overarching theme of celebrating Mexican culture and traditions. 

The 2021 CultureFest! Dia de los Muertos will be held Saturday, Oct. 23 from 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. The full lineup of festivities can be found here

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