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Teatro Aurora’s Day of the Dead Celebration

DAY OF THE DEAD CELEBRATION
Wednesday, November 2
6:00pm

Memorial Potluck- 6:00pm
Live Show- 7:00pm (English) and 8:00pm (Spanish)

Hosted by: Central Gwinnett High School
564 W Crogan St, Lawrenceville, GA 30046

The Dia de los Muertos celebration recognizes death as a natural part of the human experience, a continuum with birth, childhood, and growing up, to become a contributing member of the community. On the fastest growing holiday in the United States; the Dead awaken from their eternal sleep to share celebrations with their loved ones. Join us for a FREE Day of the Dead Festival celebration to commemorate all of those that have come before us with an altar memorial, art exhibits, food, drinks, and professional storyteller, Tersi Bendiburg!

We invite the community to share the favorite food and beverages, as well as pictures, toys, or artifacts of their deceased friends and family members to be honored on this special night.

Join us for a special edition of storytelling, as Alma Mexicana and Tersi Bendiburg takes us on a journey of remembrance as we celebrate life and those who have come before us on: November 2 at 7:00pm (English) and 8:00pm (Spanish).

Support free programming like this by donating to Aurora Theatre today.


Presented by

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In Partnership with 

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With Additional Support from

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Read in Spanish


A Brief History

The Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) is a holiday celebrated throughout Mexico & Central America and acknowledged around the world in other cultures. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died, and help support their spiritual journey.

Conceptually, it is a hybrid, owing its origins to both prehispanic Aztec philosophy & religion and medieval European ritual practice. Scholars trace its origins to indigenous observances dating back hundreds of years and to an Aztec festival dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl. In ancient Aztec ceremonies, both children and dead ancestors were remembered and celebrated. The Aztecs would bring offerings of food to altars in honor of the dead. They would also place small clay images that were supposed to represent the deceased on these same altars.

When the Spaniards arrived in the 16th century, they brought the Christian Holiday of All Soul’s Day with them. This was a Roman Catholic holy day commemorating the dead in general as well as baptized Christians who were believed to be in purgatory. Spanish priests were quick to see a correlation between the Aztec and Christian celebrations so moved the Aztec festival from summer to fall so that it coincided with All Souls’ Day. This was done in the hopes that the Aztec holiday, which the Spaniards considered to be pagan, would be transformed into an acceptable Christian holiday.

The result of this cultural blending is an event where modern Mexicans & other Latino cultures celebrate their ancestors during the first two days of November, rather than at the beginning of summer. Through art, music, and ritual this event honors ancestors and celebrates the vitality and richness of today’s Latino community. And while the ceremony remains true to its Latino roots, the holiday has spread throughout the world, being absorbed within other deep traditions for honoring the dead.

Day of the Dead Around the World
Customs in Central America vary from town to town. It is usually a combination of rituals and introspection that ultimately takes on a joyous tone. When celebrated abroad, the holiday takes on its own unique flare in each community. In Brazil, Dia de Finados is a public holiday that many Brazilians celebrate by visiting cemeteries and churches. In Spain, festivals and parades are frequently held and people often gather at cemeteries and pray for their deceased loved ones at the end of the day. Similar observances occur
elsewhere in Europe, and similarly themed celebrations appear in many Asian & African cultures. In France and some other European countries, All Souls’ Day was observed by visits of families to the graves of loved ones, where they left chrysanthemums. At Teatro Aurora, we celebrate Day of the Dead as a reminder that theatre, culture, and arts are for all people. 

The altar: A way to commemorate
Day of the Dead altars are built during Dia de los Muertos as memorials to honor the lives of loved ones who have passed. They are often quite beautiful creations, constructed with love and care. On top of the altar, offerings are laid out for the dead — known as ofrendas in Spanish. These are items that the spirits will enjoy when they come back to earth to visit their living families and friends. People make an effort to lay out the best ofrenda they can afford, consisting of things the dead person enjoyed while s/he was alive.

We encourage our people of all origins in our community to participate and bring the favorite artifacts of their deceased, such as copies of photos, favorite games, snacks, or drinks.


About the artists:

Tersi Bendiburg (Storyteller)
Tersi is a bilingual storyteller, born in Cuba. At ten years old her family left Cuba and moved to Decatur, Georgia. This life-changing event presented many personal challenges, but stories made, and continue to make this process easier. Growing up, Tersi enjoyed folktales, legends, and family stories from her parents and from the close knit Cuban community in Decatur. Now a teller of these tales, nurtured in her fragile roots allowing them to grow deep and strong in the red Georgia clay, blend these two cultures.


dancing-thru-mexico_imgAlma Mexicana Danza Folklórica (Dancers)
Alma Mexicana means Mexican Soul and Danza Folklórica means folk dancing. Put them together and you have the soul of Mexican culture and customs brought to life through music, dancing and colorful costumes that will be a feast for the senses. Don’t miss this exciting performance especially crafted for audiences with young children that will take them on a virtual journey to Veracruz, Chihuahua, Michoacan, Sinaloa, Yucatan and much more of Mexico. And when the music moves you, don’t keep your seat — get up and dance a little too! Based in Lilburn, Alma Mexicana has been performing traditional Mexican dances for the last seven years.


casa1Casa Guanajuato (Workshops)
Casa Guanajuato-Georgia is an organization that represents the rich culture and art forms of Guanajuato State, throughout Georgia and the U.S. Casa Guanajuato is committed to participate in the Carnival as a partner of Aurora Theatre, as its mission is to bring cultural content to fill a void which is now awash with nostalgia for the culture left behind. In addition, instill pride in their origins and offer a means to integrate positively and productively into American society. Each year, Casa Guanajuato-Georgia takes advantage of special Mexican events and presents programs, often of considerable dimensions. Where we participate by offering workshops in traditional arts surroundings not only limited to a specific commemoration but to partner with all activities that our traditions and culture entitles during the year.