Lehi residents are invited to learn about and celebrate their ancestors during the Dia de Muertos event at Thanksgiving Point this Saturday.
“The point is for everyone to learn about their own ancestors and incorporate that into a celebration of family,” said Nassari Alaverez Everett, Signature Experiences Manager at Thanksgiving Point. Everett oversees a committee of dedicated women who volunteer each year to make the Day of the Deadevent at the Thanksgiving Point Show Barn a success.
“We had the first Dia de Muertos event at Thanksgiving Point in 2013 and at the time it was the only large-scale celebration of its kind,” said Everett. This year the Day of the Dead event at the Show Barn is Saturday, Oct. 22, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. “We’re having it early enough that people can get ideas about how to celebrate Dia de Muertos on November 1.”
Dia de Muertos is a Mexican tradition that combines Catholic and indigenous beliefs about life after death. It is believed to be the one day a year the gates of heaven open, allowing deceased children and adults to come back to their families on earth to enjoy eating, dancing, and singing together. It is traditionally celebrated for two days.
“Genealogy is something that is familiar to many people in Utah and Day of the Dead is a great opportunity to learn more about our ancestors,” Everett continued. “We’re inviting everyone, no matter where their ancestors come from, to come celebrate them. Celebrating Dia de Muertos isn’t cultural appropriation, your ofrenda can have items from the countries your ancestors came from.”
Everett has Mexican ancestors and her husband’s family came from Scotland, so they include a tartan plaid along with traditional Mexican items on their family’s ofrenda. An“ofrenda” is a temporary altar to honor loved ones and provide them with what they need on their journey. The Show Barn will feature many family ofrendas during the Day of the Dead event.
Throughout the day, performers like Bailando con el Corazon, Mi Viejo San Simon Utah, several ballet groups and Los Hermanos de los Andes will perform on the Show Barn stage. There are activities for the children and face-painting as well as local artisans and food vendors. Experts from FamilySearch will be on hand to help people discover their roots on the free genealogy website.
“I love what I do and the people I work with,” said Everett. “We hope this event inspires people to do the work to learn about their own ancestors and celebrate them. Ask the silly questions now – find out what flavor of ice cream grandpa’s favorite is. Don’t wait to get to know each other.”