Friends of Mexico joyous in Carnival Macabre’s Day of the Dead

Children enjoying last year’s Day of the Dead celebrations at Northbridge Piazza.
Children enjoying last year’s Day of the Dead celebrations at Northbridge Piazza.

FRIENDS of Mexico WA president Cesar Ortega is joyous about bringing his country’s traditional Day of the Dead to the wider Perth community as part of City of Perth’s Carnival Macabre.

Ortega, of Canning Vale, is a founding committee member of the non-profit association started in 2006 to promote Mexican culture and heritage in WA.

He said the partnership between Friends of Mexico WA and City of Perth was in its third year and was a great avenue to share the Mexican tradition.

“In Mexico, the dead are nothing to fear or to be sad about,” Ortega, who has lived in Perth since 2005, said.

“We believe that when one dies, the essence and spirit continues, so Day of the Dead is an opportunity for us to have a party with our dead.

“People go to the cemeteries, clean the graves and in some towns they go and have picnics at the cemetery, they bring music, alcohol and food.

“On the night of November 2 the cemetery is lit with candles and we believe the souls or spirits of our deceased come back and share a dinner and good time with us.”

Ortega said Day of the Dead was older than Halloween and dated back to the Aztecs.

“When the Spaniards conquered Mexico the Catholic priests adopted these rituals and incorporated them with All Souls’ Day on the Catholic calendar; in Mexico it became Day of the Dead,” he said.

Carnival Macabre runs from October 28 to November 1 and Friends of Mexico WA will lead Day of the Dead celebrations at Northbridge Piazza on Saturday, October 31 from 3pm.

There will be a colourful altar dedicated to the dead, a Mexican folkloric dance troupe, face painting, candy skulls for children to decorate and eat, bread of the dead and hot chocolate.

“As macabre as it sounds, in Mexico it’s fun,” he said.

Full program at www.visitperthcity.com.