Visit Denver For Dia De Los Muertos

If a ticket to Mexico isn’t in the cards for Dia de los Muertos this year, you might want to consider Denver. It may seem strange that a non-border state throws down so hard, but Denver is, after all, in the Southwest, and as such, has a thriving Hispanic community, as well as arts and culture scene. This colorful, oddly joyous holiday dates back to pre-Columbian times, and has its roots in pagan rituals celebrated by indigenous peoples, including the Aztecs.

If you want to skip the Halloween hangover (sugar or otherwise) and instead spend the Day of the Dead (which is technically November 1) honoring dead ancestors (it’s okay if they’re not yours) with dancing, eating and looking at traditional holiday arts and crafts, here’s the lowdown on what’s going on in Denver.

Today (Oct. 27), from 5 to 8 p.m., the Denver Botanic Gardens is hosting a flower-rific celebration that will include live music, art, dancing and traditional face painting. Flowers, and marigolds in particular, are a big part of Dia de los Muertos imagery.

On October 30, the Dia de los Muertos Celebration and Tattoo Artist Skull Show and Charity Auction will be held at El Diablo restaurant, starting at 8 p.m. Expect lots of “art skulls,” food, special cocktails, face painting and a silent auction.

The Chicano Humanities and Arts Council Gallery is displaying Dia de los Muertos artworks in various mediums, now through November 3.

On November 2, the Museo de las Americas will commemorate with altars and classes on making Dia de los Muertos crafts, such as elaborately decorated sugar skulls.

[Photo credit: Flickr user moonchild studio]

What to do in Denver: AAA virtual travel show tidbit

In the chat room lounge at the AAA virtual travel show, “Europe is Closer Than You Think,” someone asked a question about what to do in Denver in April. I had two suggestions and before the show ended I typed in my responses. The advantage of having a virtual show is that one is on-line and can verify details and can provide links to back up advice.

One of my suggestions was to go to the Denver Botanic Gardens. Granted, I was at these gardens two summers ago in July, but April is also a fine time. I know because, I checked before I sent someone astray. The gardens are huge and exquisite. Beginning April 19 there’s an exhibit called Urban Nature, an art show of street murals that represent ideas of how to bring nature into the lives of urban dwellers. The murals were created on large panels by a mix of artists. A mix of artist is always fun, I think. I love those projects where people are given parameters and you see what comes out in the various styles and techniques.

Also, even though spring has yet to come, there is always something blooming at the gardens. Here’s the page that tells you what to look for. The calendar lists events including days where there isn’t admission. Two of the inside things I enjoyed were the Tropical Conservatory and the gift shop. In the conservatory you can see the Cloud Tree Forest which is unique to here.