Not Just Halloween: How Two Vancouver Events Celebrate the Dead Different This Weekend

It’s not just pumpkins, sweets and spooky music at this time of year – it’s also the traditional time to honor the dead for many cultures.

Two different events in Vancouver this weekend invite people to honor past traditions and create some new ones of their own. The All Souls Festival takes place at Mountain View Cemetery until November 1st, while Latincouver’s Altar de Muertos is located at Ocean Art Works on Granville Island this weekend until November 2nd.

Stephen Quinn, host of CBC’s The early edition, spoke with organizers of both events ahead of the weekend about why they want to celebrate this time of year differently.

All Souls is in its 17th year, and began when Paula Jardine was with the now defunct art collective Public Dreams.

A red dress memorial is pictured as part of the Night For All Souls event at Mountain View Cemetery. (Ben Nelms / CBC)

They were producing at the time another Vancouver Halloween booklet, Parade of Lost Souls. She and artist colleague Marino Szijarto made a shrine to honor their ancestors as part of the parade.

“It was then that we realized that it was not really a work of art, but we had created a sacred space. Then my father died on Halloween and it felt like an invitation to go deeper into this time of year because it is personal. ” said Jardine.

“We all still have that feeling – to surround our memories with beauty and to acknowledge the passing of people.”

The couple worked with Mountain View Cemetery to create All Souls as a week-long public event. It includes artists ’shrines that pay homage to their cultural or personal homage, and a mourning tea where participants gather to create their own memorials.

A woman weaves a message at a station during the Night For All Souls event. (Ben Nelms / CBC)

There is also live music every night the festival is on, as well as in the afternoon on Saturday and Sunday.

A visit to All Souls is a welcome respite from the carnival atmosphere of Halloween. The atmosphere is calm and reflective. Visitors walk through the entrance to the cemetery, lit by candles in mason jars and then visit the shrines located in the central part of the cemetery.

“[We have] small glowing shrines in different parts of the cemetery that have grown over the years from people’s own needs and considerations, “Jardine said.

All Souls also has a triptych, a three-panel wooden screen, where visitors are encouraged to write messages to their loved ones throughout the event.

Jardine and her team want to create an atmosphere that embodies “coming together as a community to support each other.”

Two people watch the triptych at the Night For All Souls event. (Ben Nelms / CBC)

Day of the Dead on Granville Island

Meanwhile, on Granville Island, the Altar de Muertos reflects more of Latin America’s traditions of Day of the Dead or Día de Muertos. Part of Latincouver’s celebration of Latin American Heritage Month, the altar was created by artists celebrating the practices in countries such as Mexico, Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Peru.

Latincouver’s Paloma Morales pointed out that Day of the Dead is not a Mexican version of Halloween. The tradition of commemorating the dead dates back to pre-Spanish original times hundreds of years ago.

In Mexico, the day has been protected by UNESCO as a cultural practice that is important to humanity.

The Altar de Muertos is at Ocean Art Works on Granville Island. (Ben Nelms / CBC)

“The altar represents the Aztec warriors. I’m talking about 500 years ago when the Spaniards came to America,” Morales said.

She says the festivities are now a mix of Aztec culture, Christianity and Catholicism.

People pay tribute to their deceased loved ones at the altar. (Ben Nelms / CBC)

“[Día de Muertos] is a celebration of life, the life of our people who are no longer among us. We celebrate life for ourselves. ”

Visitors to Granville Island can see the altar this weekend, where there will also be a pop-up market and musicians. On November 2, the final parade will include a joint meeting with Mexican food, hot chocolate and music.

8:13Vancouver hosts two Day of the Dead events

Paula Jardine and Paloma Morales talk to Stephen Quinn the day after Halloween and why many cultures chose this time to honor their dead. 8:13

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