How to celebrate Day of the Dead Mexican Festival in Birmingham

You can experience an authentic Mexican celebration with two events scheduled to take place in Birmingham

Art on display during the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead (MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images.

An arts collective in Birmingham will celebrate the Mexican Day of the Dead festival in the coming weeks with two evenings featuring multimedia performances and traditional food.

The Day of the Dead is a Christian holiday observed in Mexico.

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The festival acts as a time to reflect, pray and remember family and friends who have died. In many ways, the festival is also considered to be a festival sparking joy at the celebration of life.

The event - Hanal Pixan: Food For All Souls - is a combined arts project inspired by the traditions of Mexico and the festival organised by the Itzatna Arts Collective.

You can experience food inspired by the culture - specifically the ‘Hanal Pixan’ traditions of the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico, with a focus on the shared cultural heritage of corn maize farming, cultivation, and cuisine between Mexico and the UK.

The events will take place at The Edge community centre in Cheapside, Digbeth on November 26 and December 3.

A spokesman for Itzatna Arts Collective said: “The evenings will include live cooking, shared meals, ritual actions, audience interaction, communal altar building, audiovisual soundscapes, video projections, to create an unforgettable multimedia, multisensory experience.

“Hanal Pixanwill explore the themes of death and rebirth, ancestors, eating and consuming, ritual and ceremony, indegenous land resistance, and climate change - in relation and in remembrance of the shared deaths caused by the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK and Mexico.”

You can buy tickets for the November 26 event here.

Tickets for the event on 3 December are available here.

People light candles in the pantheon of San Andres Mixquic as part of the 2021 ‘Day of The Dead’ celebration on November 02 (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)

When is Day of the Dead celebrated?

Day of the Dead is a holiday with origins in Mexico, and is actually celebrated from 31 October to 2 November, and is associated with Western Christianity’s season, Allhallowtide, a time dedicated to remember the dead.

It is thought Day of the Dead originated thousands of years ago with Nahua, Aztec and Toltec people who believed mourning the dead to be disrespectful.

So over this period, families come together to celebrate and honour their lost ones in a joyful manner.

It’s important to note that Day of the Dead is not a Mexican version of Halloween but a holiday to remember those they have lost with happiness.

How do people celebrate?

Traditionally, this festival is connected to calaveras (sugar skulls) and Aztec marigold flowers.

People honour the deceased through building ofrendas (home altars) with the favourite food of those they are honouring and visit the graves of those departed to leave items and gifts.

Since it’s also a celebration of life, people often gift friends and families with sugar skulls to commemorate their relationships.

Families and friends also bake and share traditional food, such as Pan de Muertos (bread of the dead) in the weeks leading up to the festival.

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