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Photo: Stefanie Delgado
Photo: Stefanie Delgado

The borough hosts two Day of the Dead events this weekend — and both are full of life.

First up is the Queens Museum-sponsored Oye Corona! outdoor festival at Park of the Americas, 103-08 42nd Ave., on Saturday, Oct. 28, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Then, the Calpulli Mexican Dance Company will present “Día de los Muertos” at Queens Theatre in Flushing Meadows Corona Park on Sunday, Oct. 29, at 7:30 p.m. (Tickets run from $20 to $30, and a previous show, scheduled for 4 p.m., is currently sold out.)

Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a public holiday in Mexico and parts of Central America when families visit their deceased relatives in cemeteries and pray for their spirits. They bring offerings, such as flowers, food, and candles, and build altars, usually with marigolds. They also make mini skulls out of sugar due to an ancient belief that death is a sweet phase of human existence.

At Queens Theatre, about 20 colorfully dressed Calpulli dancers will tell the story of Don José, a breadmaker in a Mexican village who tries to get his daughter, Lupita, to marry Maximiliano, an arrogant millionaire. Lupita is madly in love with the humble Raúl. In a blind rage after losing a duel to him, Maximiliano sends a poisoned drink to Raúl that Lupita drinks. She ends up in Mictlán, the Aztec mythology underworld led by La Catrina, a mesmerizing Queen who represents death and the willingness to laugh at it. Lupita begs La Catrina to send her back to her village, while Raúl lovingly takes care of Lupita’s grave. The show ends in an emotional final dance.

Oye Corona! will feature standard festival activities, such as face painting, children’s games, printing, and a live deejay. There will also be crochet and embroidery workshops, a build-your-own piñata class, and dance therapy. But the commemoration will include rituals during which individuals can honor the dearly departed and the placement of an altar honoring those who have fought against racial violence around the world. (See photo at bottom right.)

Plus, Melvis Santa will dance a Cuban rumba genre that is traditionally performed in streets and courtyards. Yesenia Selier will perform dances influenced by Santería, a Cuban-born religion that mixes African Yoruba beliefs with Catholic traditions. And two local cultural nonprofits, Ñukanchik Llakta Wawakuna and Sumak Warmis, will do traditional Andean dances.

 

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