Five organizations. Five world premieres.
These two fragments summarize what ROCO’s “Musical and Literary Ofrenda” on Oct. 27 is all about. Presented at Lawndale Art Center as part of the museum’s Dia de Los Muertos celebration that includes a retablo art exhibition, workshops and interactive programs, “Musical and Literary Ofrenda” includes musical offerings by ROCO and Musiqa, readings by Inprint and Spanish language activities by the Houston Hispanic Forum.
Linda Flores Olson, executive director of the Houston Hispanic Forum, the mission of which is to empower and inspire the success of the large and fast-growing Hispanic community in the Greater Houston area, offers some thoughts about how she celebrates her loved ones as part of this yearly tradition.
Q: What does Dia de los Muertos mean to you?
A: It’s a time to honor and remember loved ones who have died. Popular in central and southern Mexico, Dia De los Muertos coincides with the Catholic All Saints’ Day, during which indigenous people have combined their ancient beliefs with the Catholic holy day. They believe that at midnight on Oct. 31, deceased children reunite with their families.
The spirts of deceased adults enjoy the activities prepared for them at home — ofrendas (decorated alters) with candles, flowers, sweet bread in the shape of skulls, tortillas, drinks, cigarettes, shots and more. On Nov. 2 the festivities are taken to the cemetery, where people clean tombs, play cards and music, and reminisce about their loved ones.
Q: Does your family keep the holiday? If so, any family traditions?
A: My parents are from the state of Coahuila, which is in northern Mexico. This area is less indigenous and has more European roots. My family spends the day scrubbing loved ones graves and going to mass. In Houston, I go to my mom’s grave to remember happy times and to catch her up on what’s being going on.
Q: What’s your favorite part of the celebration?
A: Honoring my mom, Angelina. I find it comforting to spend the day thinking about her and being grateful that she molded me into the person I am today.
Q: Any particular foods that are associated with Dia de los Muertos?
A: Traditionally, people enjoy the deceased loved one’s favorite foods and drinks and sweet bread in the shape of skulls. Each year, I enjoy Chinese food, which was my mom’s favorite and coffee with Kahlua for dessert!
A: The Houston Hispanic Forum is thrilled to be partnering with ROCO for a magical evening of original music, prose, art and an opportunity for professionals to practice their Spanish during a networking time after the concert. The event, Español y Arte, is for Spanish speakers of all levels. Guests will relish in wonderful champagne as they enjoy the beautiful, one-of-a-kind altars and retablos created by local artists.