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A Month-Long Dia De Muertos Festival Will Feature A Seasonal Market, Music & Altars

All of the events are free to attend. 💀🏵

MTL Blog, Associate Editor
​Someone wearing a flower-embroidered dress stands in front of a Day of the Dead altar. Right, A colourful altar.

Someone wearing a flower-embroidered dress stands in front of a Day of the Dead altar. Right, A colourful altar.

A month-long Day of the Dead festival might 'altar' the way Montrealers think about the cycle of life. The Festival Dia de Muertos MTL organized by PAAL Partageons le monde runs from October 13 to November 13 with over a dozen free activities that go beyond painted skulls and colourful flowers to celebrate real Mexican tradition and reflect on the balance of life and death.

Day of the Dead altars will be set up at various locations around the city for visitors to add flowers, small skulls, candles and other meaningful items that commemorate relatives who have died. According to Mexican lore, loved ones who've died can come back to visit for two nights a year from October 31 to November 2. Candles lit on altars for the dead help the deceased find their homes.

Access is free and no tickets are necessary to visit festival altars at the Galerie Port-Maurice à Saint-Léonard and the Maison de la Culture Notre-Dame-de-Grâce á Botrel (which will also host a"Cycle of Life and Death" exhibition by Colombian, Mexican and Canadian artists from September 8 to November 15). Around a dozen altars will also be exhibited at the Rudolf Steiner School of Montreal, as part of a seasonal market event on October 29.

The six-hour event will feature musical performances, storytelling and dance by Mexican and Irish artists. Artisans will have goods for sale and a poster auction will raise money for NDG family-based non-profit Women on the Rise. Tickets to attend can be reserved online.

Mexican-born artists will also perform at two separate concerts. On October 27, Mamselle Ruiz will play popular songs from the Dia de Muertos tradition starting at 8 p.m. in the Maison de la Culture NDG-Benny. Noé Lira will then give a concert on December 7 at 7:30 p.m. at the Saint-Léonard library. Tickets will become available on October 13.

Festival workshops include a class on traditional Mexican baking and "pan de muerto oaxaqueño (or deathbread) with Mariana Martin, the founder of Carlota Boulangerie, on October 24. Registration is free. Meanwhile, a series of classes on papier-mache skulls and clay skeletons are scheduled throughout the month of October.

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