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October 15, 2004

El Dia de los Muertos: Day of the Dead Community Altar

Showing now through Nov. 7, 2004

Seattle— The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture has invited members of the local Latino cultural organization, La Casa de Artes, to construct an altar at the museum in celebration of this year’s Day of the Dead.

For thousands of years, communities around the world have honored their dead and prepared them for the afterlife. In ancient Egypt, the loved ones of the deceased filled their tombs with objects they would need in their afterlife. In Ireland, the Celts celebrated Samhain, a festival in which the dead were welcomed home again.

Throughout Mexico, Central and South America, death is honored through the Day of the Dead festival, held in remembrance of the deceased, and celebrating the continuity of life. The tradition has been carried north and there are many celebrations in the Seattle area. Altars are constructed in homes and public places to honor individuals with things pleasing to the dead: food, drinks, marigolds, salt, and photographs all help welcome them back into their homes.

The Burke’s community altar was created by Isaac Hernandez and Juan Torres of La Casa de Artes. It is located on the lower level of the Burke Museum, near the entrance to the Pacific Voices exhibit. Visit the artistic display in the month leading up to the November 1 and 2 celebration of the Day of the Dead.

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The Burke Museum is located at the corner of NE 45th St and 17th Ave NE, on the University of Washington campus. Hours are 10 am to 5 pm daily, and until 8 pm on the first Thursday of the month. Admission is $8 general, $6.50 senior, $5 student/ youth. Admission is free to children 4 and under, Burke members, UW students, faculty, and staff. Admission is free to the public on the first Thursday of each month. Call 206-543-5590 or visit www.burkemuseum,org.

(206) 543-9762; FAX (206) 616-1274