ABOUT DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS COLLECTIVE
The Día de Los Muertos Collective is a nonprofit that coordinates the efforts of Toronto´s Mexican community to bring a celebration that honors the dead, delights the living, promotes artistic creation and foster community development through tradition.
ABOUT THE DAY OF THE DEAD
In traditional Day of the Dead/ Día de los Muertos festivities in Mexico, friends and family gather to remember loved ones who have passed away, and to support their spiritual journey onward. In the spirit of a culture that is alive, thriving, and therefore ever transforming, we invite you to join the Day of the Dead celebration at the Wychwood Barns — and through your participation make it yours and the community’s. To commemorate those who have died — whether in our own families or circle of friends or as a result of political persecution or neglect — we celebrate our being alive with food and dance, honour the memory of those gone through altars and art, and create an awareness of the fragility of life and its constant interweaving with death by way of the festivity’s geography. Alongside a day-long program that also strives to acknowledge our indebtedness to and respect for Canada’s Indigenous inhabitants, we invite you to explore the grounds of the Barns, which together and through your presence and participation constitute one enormous, animated altar. As a community member, you give the celebration its shape and meaning: pass from our world of the living, represented by the Market (Tianguis) through Limbo to the Underworld (Mictlan); approach the Sacred Fire under guidance from its Indigenous guardians; make an offering of marigolds at the community altar; discover the Clandestine Graves that remind us of the many deaths worldwide that occur under dubious circumstances; and pay homage to these victims and express solidarity with their families by participating in the creation of a community sand sculpture. Celebrating together, we acknowledge death’s universality, honour the dead, and make a stand for a better future of greater justice.
The history of this celebration started when Jesus Mora offered his studio space six years ago to celebrate the Day of the dead, where the Aztec Dance Group performed and the community gathered for the ceremony. For four consecutive years the ceremony and celebration have been happening at the location of Artscape Wychwood Barns, where the musicians, Aztec dance group, theater, organizer (Jesus Mora), coordinator (Alejandra Higuera) and participants were volunteering for the achievement of this event. For the past three years we have approached some sponsors that have given us the financial means to provide an honorarium to the participant artists and paid the main expenses of the event. In 2013 we developed a partnership with Casa Maiz (Latin American non for Profit Cultural Organization) in order to expand the celebration with the Latin American community and joint efforts towards the Celebration.
We believe in bringing the traditions to our home. Toronto, Canada is our home and home for many other Mexicans. During the previous events the feedback from the community has been so positive that it keeps the motivation of the organizers in this project. This is an event that the community really enjoys and is growing and growing every year. Therefore we see the potential of many artists to participate and enrich the event and the experience of the community attending.
This event supports the arts and Mexican culture, by sharing our traditions in the most authentic way we can.