Cultural Quarterly Magazine Online
Cultural Close-up_Day of the Dead_12-2011
Broward County > Cultural Home > Cultural Quarterly Online > Archives > Cultural Close-up_Day of the Dead_12-2011
Cultural Close-up 
Day of the Dead Celebration Catches on in Broward County

By Helene Foster

Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead – a Mexican tradition dating back hundreds of years and celebrated primarily in Latin America − has recently become a South Florida tradition, as well. In the United States, there are several significant Day of the Dead events held in California, Texas and New York City.

In the first and only celebration of its kind in South Florida – now in its second year − more than 2,000 visitors of all ages decked out in their “skeleton best” for festivities that began at the Museum of Art | Fort Lauderdale on November 2. The processional moved on to the FAT Village Arts District at Projects ArtSpace. There, patrons found an evening full of live music, theater presentations, traditional Mexican foods, art exhibits and memorials and shrines to the deceased.

The local celebration, which included everything from parades to music and puppetry, was created by Jim Hammond of the Puppet Network and FAT Village Arts District founder Doug McGraw.  It was well-attended, proving to be even bigger and better than the debut event a year earlier.

“The event has more than doubled in size from our first year in 2010,” Hammond explains. “However, the biggest change was to place the event on the actual Day of the Dead on November 2.  It was a risk as it was on a Wednesday in the middle of the week; however we found when it was placed on the weekend before it got a little lost in the Halloween activities.”

Months of planning and preparation made for a successful event.  There were activities for everyone − both the young and the young at heart, according to Hammond.

“We are extremely proud of the broad cross-section of South Florida represented at the event.  Families with grandparents