The Wallkill Public Library hosted a Day of the Dead pumpkin painting event last Wednesday. This was held to celebrate Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead in Spanish), a Mexican holiday.
People of all ages showcased their artistic talents at the event. They painted skulls on the pumpkins and included accessories like hats to make them appear lifelike. Tara Laiosa, children’s coordinator at the library, and Christine Adams, library assistant in charge of programming, planned the event. The duo chose to celebrate an offbeat holiday.
“I wanted to give them a little more exposure to something other than Halloween,” Adams said.
Día de los Muertos starts on Oct. 31 and ends on Nov. 2. It involves family and friends gathering to pray for and remember friends who have died. During the three-day period families and friends build ofrendas (altars) at a loved one’s grave. Favorite foods, marigolds, sugar skulls as well as photographs of the deceased person are placed on their grave. In addition, the holiday is celebrated with street parties and parades. People paint their faces as calacas and calaveras (skeletons and skulls) and many dress up as La Calavera Catrina, the most popular symbol of Día de los Muertos.
Adams noted that the holiday is celebrated to commemorate the life of a deceased loved one. Wonderful memories of late friends and family members are recalled throughout the holiday.
“It’s a celebration of life rather than a celebration of death,” Adams said.