Community Calendar

Community Artists Program
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Charlestown

Returning Tutors Get Together
12:30 p.m. - 2 p.m. Westerly

Bridge Group
1 p.m. - 3 p.m. Charlestown

RI Blood Drive
3 p.m. - 6 p.m. Westerly

E-Reader Help
5:30 p.m. - 7 p.m. Charlestown

... View all of today's events


Stay Connected




Day to share traditions of growing community


WESTERLY — Angelica Delara remembers celebrating el Dia de los Muertos as a little girl living in Mexico.

It’s a happy time, she says of what has become one of the biggest holidays in her native country, where families gather to celebrate, remember and honor relatives who have died.

“We would go to the cemetery and fix up the tombs of my uncles, aunts and grandfather,” Delara, who lives in Westerly, said. “The best part was remembering my grandfather, who was a very happy and helpful person. It was a time when all the family was together, too.”

Delara and others in Westerly’s growing Hispanic community are sharing a piece of the traditional Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, on Tuesday during the Latino/Hispanic Heritage Festival at Springbrook Elementary School.

The festival, which includes food, dancing and altar displays, is from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, and will provide opportunities to learn about many Latino countries that are now represented in Westerly.

“It’s nice to introduce the Hispanic culture to Westerly,” said Delara, who has lived in the United States for 14 years. “Especially since the Hispanic community is growing. It’s a chance to learn a little bit more about our culture.”

There are more than 50 Hispanic or Spanish-speaking families in the Westerly public school system, officials said.

“Dia de los Muertos is a major holiday, especially for those of us who are from Mexico,” said Maria Camarena, who works with the Families Learning Together program at Tower Street Community Center. “It’s an important time. Everything is colorful, happy. It’s not a sad time.

“It’s good to share other cultural practices with people who don’t know about them.”

The traditional celebration begins the night of Oct. 31 and continues to Nov. 2. Both Camarena and Delara said that while its origins are Mexican, Colombia, Argentina and Honduras are among a handful of other countries that celebrate Dia de los Muertos.

The most common custom associated with the holiday is making an elaborate altar to welcome departed spirits home. The altar is decorated with flowers, pictures of the person who died and objects that symbolize things that person valued or owned.

Traditional altars also include nourishment and refreshments — it is believed that during Dia de los Muertos, the spirits of the dead return to earth to visit their families, and it’s a long hard journey from the afterlife back to earth.

The event Tuesday, which is presented through the Tower Street Community Center, will include costumes. Children, like Delara’s, will be dressed in traditional regalia like Mariachi band performers.

“It’s a cultural celebration,” Camarena said. “It’s happy time. It’s not scary like Halloween can be here.”

alemoine@thewesterlysun.com



Back to LatestNews
Top Stories of the Week

Westerly man facing charges in child pornography case …
WAKEFIELD — A Westerly man is facing charges following a Rhode Island State Police investigation into the possession and transfer of child pornography. Benjamin Kelley, … more ...

Police ID man found dead in tent …
BRADFORD — A 25-year-old man who was found dead in a tent behind a house on Bowling Lane has been identified. Jason Knight Barber was … more ...

Police logs: Friday, Aug. 28, 2015 …
Westerly Michael P. Liborio, 28, of 2 Pickering Drive, Westerly, was charged Thursday with simple assault and/or battery; resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. Stonington Kayla … more ...

WordPress workshop at New England Institute of Technology …
EAST GREENWICH — New England Institute of Technology will host the WordPress WordCamp RI workshop Sept. 25 and 26 at its East Greenwich campus, at … more ...

Police: Man charged with assault after fight over a woman …
RICHMOND — A local man is facing assault charges after police said he attacked another man during a fight regarding a woman. David J. Baton, … more ...

Comments