Evanston comes together for Day of the Dead celebration


Sean Hong/The Daily Northwestern

Children listen to a dramatic reading of a scary story at the Day of the Dead celebration at Evanston Public Library on Saturday afternoon.

Amanda Gilbert, Reporter

Although Halloween was earlier in the week, Evanston residents came to the city’s public library Saturday to celebrate another holiday.

Daylily Alvarez, Evanston Public Library’s Latino outreach specialist, planned a day of cultural activities for families to learn about Dia de Los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead. In many Latin American countries, the holiday celebrates loved ones who have died and often includes family gatherings to share memories, food and artifacts.

Throughout the event, attendees could make their own muertos folk art, such as sugar skulls and dioramas. Some of the artwork created at the event is now on display at the library, 1703 Orrington Ave.

The Mexican Ministry of Tourism and Culture provided Aztec performers to demonstrate how ceremonial drumming works, Alvarez said. The day also featured story time, dancing and face painting.

“I wanted to make it a family event,” she said, “which is why we had a lot of events children could participate in.”

The holiday brings a new perspective to the way the community remembers those who are no longer with it, Alvarez said. She emphasized that the Day of the Dead is not about grief.

“It’s important for us to come together and to get to know one another,” Alvarez said.

She said Evanston has a diverse population, and tensions can arise when people do not know a lot about each other’s traditions and cultures. Alvarez said events such as Dia de Los Muertos work to bridge that gap.

“Once we know more about each other, we are more likely to engage with one another,” she added.

Alvarez’s daughter, Gwinieere Puschautzvolunteered to help out at the event. She said she was glad to see a lot of children from many different cultures participate.

“There was a lot of kids that stayed from the beginning until the end, so that was nice to see that they enjoyed it,” she said. “There was a lot of different things going on and a lot of cute kids.”

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