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Billed as a modern day interpretation of an ancient Aztec ritual practiced more than 2,000 years ago, the UpValley Family Centers of Napa County and Nimbus Arts held its annual Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration at the Upper Valley Campus of the Napa Valley College on Nov. 2.

More than 600 children and adults attended to celebrate and honor lives of the dead in a festival that included beautiful altars, flashy dancing, skillful face painting, wonderful food, and plain old fun. There were information booths about services offered to families in the valley, too.

This cultural event has been held annually since 2007 to highlight the rich cultural tradition of Hispanic residents while providing an opportunity for everyone in the community to come together and share in a family-friendly day filled with music, entertainment and food.

Dia de los Muertos is a traditional celebration that honors loved ones who have passed away, and the altars created by different families and groups within the community were lovely testaments to the power and beauty of that tradition.

This year’s festivities included performances by Ballet Folklorico, Danza Mexica Nanahuatzin, Argentinean, Ecuadorian, and Bolivian dance by Luis Valverde, Folk Dance by Ballet Folklorico “El Valle” St. Helena, appearances by Dulcesita the Clown, Mario and Dora the Explorer, and Mariachi singer Jasmine Garcia.

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Reporter

Tom Stockwell is currently a staff writer for the St. Helena Star. He is an author of fiction and non-fiction books and has been a working journalist for a variety of technical publications as well as a consultant for numerous wineries in the Napa Valley.

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