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By: Austin Hoverder

After a busy Halloween, Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, is yet another fall celebration. 

It is held the first two days of November and is an important holiday to many Latino cultures. This years first Day of the Dead happened to fall on the first Friday of the month. The Pop Up Gallery, a digital media and photography studio specializing in business development, lifestyle and social photography, teamed up with Kansas City’s monthly First Friday event. The Pop Up Art Gallery hosted a Friday art party, with live music and experiences. The event included a costume and mask party.

Creators of the event wanted to those in the Kansas City area to do something different with new people as well as friends and loved ones. 

Dia de los Muertos is a Mexican holiday, particularly in the Central and South regions of Mexico. The holiday involves family and friends gathering to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died and help support their spiritual journey. Death is viewed in Mexican culture as a natural part of the human cycle. The holiday is viewed not as a day of sadness, but as a day of celebration because their loved ones are awake to celebrate with them. 

According to participant Margaret Rincon, the event is a great fit for families.

“I loved bringing my teen to this event,” Rincon said. “My daughter loves art, music and history, which this event was filled with.”

Dia de los Muertos’ most recognizable feature is the typical painted skulls. The skulls symbolize honor to the spirits of the dead who are believed to visit their families on this day. The artwork presented had reflections of this. 

The event started off with a live performance from “The Sunshine Kid,” Ryan Hill. Over nine local artists of varying styles presented work. The event was free with exceptions of optional $10-20 raffle tickets to win original art and other art related items. 

Attendee Rebecca Butler said that the event was valuable for the region.

“These events are very important to not only any creator or artist in Kansas City, but also to the community,” Butler said. “Bringing awareness to other cultures is the least we can do and to bring participation in.”

While Dia de los Muertos celebrations have ended for the year, the next First Friday celebration will be held on Dec. 6.

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