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Posted at 1:22 PM ET, 10/26/2005

For the Kid Who Has Hit Every Hayride in Town

By Julia Beizer

Instead of engaging in the typical constume-and-candy frenzy this Halloween weekend, two Smithsonian museums are hosting family events to celebrate the Mexican and Central American holiday Dia de los Muertos.

Day of the Dead, as it is known in English, honors ancestors who have passed away. Different cultures observe the holiday in different ways, but most ceremonies involve inviting the spirits of the deceased back to the land of the living and building them an offrenda, an altar heaped with gifts of food and drink that the ancestors enjoyed in life.

Families who visit the National Museum of American History from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday can help build an offrenda to Celia Cruz, the salsa songstress who is the subject of a current exhibit at the museum. Los Tecuanes, a dance troupe from Mexico, will perform.

The National Museum of the American Indian's celebration focuses on the influence of Spanish culture on Native traditions. Arts and crafts are a big part of this event -- guests can make traditional tissue-paper flowers or paper banners for their loved ones. The event runs from 10:30 to 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Now there's something to break up the monotony of four full days of Halloween madness. Who needs another costume contest anyway?

--Julia

By Julia Beizer  | October 26, 2005; 1:22 PM ET
Categories:  Museums  
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