NEW BRUNSWICK NJ–On Sunday November 1, the New Brunswick Free Public Library, in collaboration with Lazos America Unida and the Rutgers Center for Latino Arts and Culture (CLAC), is hosting a free event in celebration of Día de los Muertos.

Spanish for “Day of the dead,” Día de los Muertos is a Mexican holiday that honors those who have passed away.  The celebration in New Brunswick will be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m at the library’s Carl T. Valenti community room, located at 60 Livingston Avenue.

Guests and families will enjoy a variety of activities at the party for the Day of the Dead. A collective altar will be created to honor the loved ones who have passed away.

Participants can take part in the altar building by bringing a photo or drawing of a deceased relative and something like fruit, chocolate, bread or flowers to make an “ofrenda” (Spanish of offering).

In addition to that, children will have the opportunity to learn more about this tradition by enjoying reading time, face painting, papel picado or paper flower making, and a Sugar Skull workshop.

There will be music and Aztec dance performances, and the celebration will also include traditional appetizers and a tasting of Champurrado, a chocolate-based Mexican drink.

Kavita Pandey from the Public Library said that these activities have an educational connotation and are important for the community because they foster an intercultural understanding and respect among members.

“New Brunswick Public Library is always promoting diversity,” she said.

Day of the dead is a spiritual celebration which coincides with the Catholic All Saints Day and All Souls Day.

It is generally celebrated in two days. November 1, the first day of celebration is also known as the Day of the Innocents and it is dedicated to the souls of young children who have died. The second day, November 2, is a remembrance of the lives of adults who have passed.

“It is not a time of crying or being sad, it is a very joyful celebration,” Pandey said making reference to this holiday as a community gathering where people remember and celebrate the positive memories and experiences of their loved ones.

This program is also part of the Latino Americans: 500 Years of History grant, made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association.

For more information about the programming, contact librarian Kavita Pandey at 732-745-5108 x20 or e-mail [email protected]