Berks will be celebrating the Mexican holiday Días de los Muertos or Day of the Dead
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Day of the Dead celebration slated for Nov. 1 at Penn State Berks

READING, Pa. — Penn State Berks will be celebrating the Mexican holiday Días de los Muertos, or "Day of the Dead," at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 1, in the Multipurpose Room of the Perkins Student Center.

Kris Rigel-Martínez, a 16-year veteran teacher at Reading High School who has traveled extensively through Mexico, will present a contemporary look at the traditions of Días de los Muertos. The event will also include a sampling of sweet tamales and hot chocolate, and an opportunity for guests to meet with Rigel-Martinez and discuss her experiences in Mexico. This event is free and open to the public.

Días de los Muertos is a unique event in Mexico, traditionally celebrated on Nov. 1 and 2 of each year. The celebration includes building a family ofrenda (an altar or offering honoring the deceased), visiting family cemeteries and plots, and enjoying favorite foods, music, and stories of the deceased. Rigel-Martínez visited small towns and villages during her travels through Mexico, and there she sought out unique celebrations, away from tourist spots, and found more than the sugar skulls and punched paper that people typically equate with Día de los Muertos.

Rigel-Martínez has had an interest in Mexico since her first visit to the country, on a high school trip.

"The affection of these people, their pride in Mexico’s history and heritage, and their kindness created a passion in me for this country and her people," she said.

Along with her presentation, Rigel-Martínez will be bringing personal objects and photographs from her collection of Mexican items and artifacts.

For more information, contact Marilyn Fox, director of the Freyberger Gallery, at 610-396-6140 or mjf14@psu.edu.