The British Museum has announced that a free festival of performance, art, story telling and talks will take place at the museum from the 30th October until the 2nd November.

This festival will celebrate the Mexican tradition of Day of the Dead which is celebrated annually on the 1st and 2nd of November and a time when families come together to remember their friends and relatives who have passed away. Many aspects of this yearly event can be traced back 3,000 years among Mexico’s pre-Hispanic indigenous cultures.

More contemporary festivals are a blend of native traditions mixed with Catholic beliefs. These include building private altars, honouring the dead using marigolds, foods and beverages favoured by the deceased in their lifetime and visiting their graves with these gifts.

Skeleton performance by Mandinga Arts. Photo Benedict Johnson
Skeleton performance by Mandinga Arts. Photo Benedict Johnson.

Having last hosted the Day of the Dead celebrations in 2009, the British Museum is staging the festival once again over four days and includes a Friday evening event, a weekend of family activities and a study day on Monday.

During the festival, the museum will be decorated with art installations by Mexican artists, focusing on the Great court and the Forecourt.

The Day of the Dead Late event on Friday 30th will be an evening filled with music, performances, displays and workshops. There will be Mexican food and drink available throughout the evening and visitors are encouraged to dress up for the occasion.

Meanwhile for something a bit more family friendly, visit the museum on Saturday the 31st and Sunday 1st November, with a range of art displays, film and music for all the family to enjoy.

While a study day on the Monday will bring the festivities to an end. The programme will include lectures, gallery talks and other activities to explore the cultural significance of the Mexican day of the Dead.

Sir Richard Lambert, Chairman of the British Museum Trustees said: “Following the great success and popularity of the British Museum’s Day of the Dead celebrations in 2009 I am delighted that the Museum will once again be staging this colourful festival of free events for all the family. The programme represents a rich selection of activities and events that will convey the significance and celebration of the Mexican tradition of Day of the Dead.”

For more information on events taking place during the Days of the Dead Festival then visit: http://www.britishmuseum.org/whats_on/day_of_the_dead.aspx . 

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