Day of the Dead procession in Shrewsbury

A Shrewsbury artist is encouraging people to learn more about the traditional Mexican festival of the Day of the Dead as part of Halloween themed events this weekend.

Pat Jones, who runs Beyond the Purple Door, an art stall in Shrewsbury’s indoor market, is staging a series of events in the town on Saturday November 2.

She has created a Mexican Day of the Dead window display in the Darwin Shopping Centre. At 11.30am the centre of the display, a skeleton bride, will process from the shopping centre, down Pride Hill to Pat’s colourfully decorated stall on the gallery level of the market hall.

The Day of the Dead, a time for remembering departed loves ones, is celebrated with festivities and processions involving colourfully dressed skeletons. The most popular are Bride and groom skeletons. However it is essentially an important time for private family feasts to remember and pray for loved ones who have died.

The Day of the Dead, or Día de los Muertos, takes place on November 1 in connection with the Catholic festival of All Saints or All Souls Day. People visit and decorate the graves of loved ones.

A central belief of the festival, which is celebrated in many Latin American countries, is that for one day each year the souls of the dead return to walk among the living.

Pat, who has spent a lot of time working as an artist in Mexico, said: “I became fascinated by the festival and wanted to bring the ideas behind it to an audience in the UK.”

    Beyond The Purple Door, nextdoor to the Visual Art Network Gallery in the market hall, will be fully decorated with Day of the Dead themed art. Festival food and drink will also be available.

Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars to honour the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds and the favourite food and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these gifts.

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Pete White Pete White

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