September 16, 2012.
On Sunday, September 16th, the New Rochelle Library Green was the site of a spectacular festival of Mexican culture, as the New Rochelle Public Library’s Big Read project kicked off with a bang. The focus was a collection of Mexican short stories, titled Sun, Stone and Shadows: 20 Great Mexican Short Stories. Participants in New Rochelle have been reading the stories of Octavio Paz, Carlos Fuentes, and others in both English and Spanish, and reflecting on the folk cultural themes that appear in many of the works. The opening event, held on Mexican Independence Day, featured a stunning array of folk culture through the performances of dance companies and musical groups, and through the work of folk and fine artists on display and workshops.
Please click here, for a copy of the press release of this program.
A selection of photos from the September 16th, Mexican Independence Day, event.
(Double click on photos to link to Flickr page, for additional information.)
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On November 1, the Big Read project moves to its conclusion. This day is All Souls Day in the Christian Calendar. In Mexico, it is known as “Dia de los Muertos” (Day of the Dead), which is celebrated in every family as an occasion to pay homage to departed family members. More than that, it is an occasion to actually spend time at their graves and make offerings to the spirits of ancestors through the creation of detailed alters, known as “Ofrendas”. Ofrendas can include: offerings of food, drink and flowers, displays of photos, and folk art creations (such as skulls made of a sugar paste, known as “calaveras,” or entire skeletal figurines representing a wide variety of characters, professions, and classes, signifying the universality of death).
For the past four years, in honor of this tradition, the New Rochelle Library has hosted spectacular creations of Ofrendas in its lobby. This year, the New Rochelle Cultural Museum, at the High School on North Avenue, will be the site. In addition, on the evening of November 1st there will be performances and dramatic readings highlighting the stories in “Sun Stones and Shadows.”
Please note also that Dia de Los Muertos is being celebrated at other sites around the county, including the Pelham Art Center on Sunday, October 21st, and the White Plains Public Library, where participants in workshops are creating altars, which will be on display for the entire month of November. Visit http://whiteplainslibrary.org/ for more information.