DOWNEY - Dia de los Muertos, an annual Mexican tradition in which the souls of the dead are said to return to earth for one day, will be celebrated in Downey with a free, family-friendly festival this Sunday.The festival is from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the civic center and Downey Theatre. Three popular Mexican art forms will be celebrated at the festival, including classic film, the art of papel picado (perforated paper) and calaveras de azucar (sugar skulls). Two free showings of "Macario," considered one of the greatest Mexican films of all time and rarely shown on the big screen, will be screened at 12 and 5 p.m. Filmed in 1960, it was nominated for an Academy Award for best Foreign Film and hails from Mexico's "golden age of cinema." Film buff and historian Ramon Villabla, former adjunct professor at UCLA, will participate in a Q&A after the 12 p.m. showing. Papel picado artist Aurora Chavez will help festival goers make their own papel picado to take home. Paper, tools and patterns are all free. Chavez, who was raised in East L.A. and now lives in Orange, studied with Olga Furginson, the "grande dame" of L.A. papel picado, and frequently gives workshops in the Southland. Calaveras de azucar are elaborately decorated sugar skulls that represent departed souls and are the holiday's most ubiquitous and popular symbol. Master craftswomen Barbara Almaraz and Helen Neito will help participants create their own sugar skulls to take home. Skulls, foils, decorations and icing are all free. Grocery chain El Super, a festival sponsor, will be providing free pan de muertos (bread of the dead), a Mexican sweet bread eaten at this time of year, to all in attendance. Other attractions include locally-made altars and contest, an art exhibit, ballet folklorico performances, dance floor with live trio and bolero music, an avenue of food trucks, beer and wine garden, live entertainment and shopping.
********** Published: Oct. 31, 2013 - Volume 12 - Issue 29