Social Inclusion Event – Culture Night
Social Inclusion Event
Culture Night: Día de Muertos
The dead come for a visit in Istanbul&I’s Día de Muertos Culture Night!
On November 13, 2021, the Culture Night: Día de Muertos event was held from 7-9 p.m. The informative and interactive event was attended by 48 guests who wanted to learn more about the ancient Latin custom. Attendees were treated to a comprehensive presentation about the annual tradition by Carla and Florín, both of whom are natives of Mexico where the custom is very prevalent. The night continued with a game to test the room’s retention of the topics discussed earlier, an actual altar in memory of Frida Kahlo, and authentic Mexican food. There was also classic Mexican coffee with hints of cinnamon and a chef who brought Pan de Muertos, or bread of the dead, to add to the authenticity of the event as a whole.
Día de Muertos has been an annual tradition for many centuries, and the earliest signs of a similar pagan ritual date back to 3000 years ago. The annual parade held during the holiday in Mexico City was actually inspired by the James Bond movie, Spectre. This and many other interesting facts were presented to the attendees along with videos showing the ceremonies in Oaxaca, Mexico, and a short animated film depicting a daughter being reunited with her long-gone mother on the special day. Día de Muertos is a day where the dead get to visit their relatives that are left behind. It truly celebrates the dead rather than the traditional mourning seen in other cultures.
The room was decorated with papel picado in all colors. After the presentation had concluded, questions from the audience were answered, such as questions like how long the altars are held up and how difficult the preparations were for the big event. Later on, people sat down for the authentic cuisine of the night which included burritos, Mexican street corn, and Sopa de Fideo. Once everyone had enjoyed their meal, classic food for the occasion being Pan de Muertos was brought, turning out to be very popular. Overall, the audience left with a deeper knowledge of not only the Mexican culture, but also the customs of Día de Muertos and their hankering for authentic cuisine satisfied.
Anna, an English teacher, said about the event, “The Día de Muertos cultural night event was a beautiful way to learn about and immerse yourself in one of the most important holidays in Mexico. It was greatly demonstrated by the authentic food, music, altar, and presentation prepared by the leaders of the cultural night.” She went on to say, “I enjoyed admiring the decorations and socializing with the people who attended the event. I felt very glad at the end that I was able to make it to this event!”