Contemporary and Traditional Native American Hand Made
Open Daily (510) 528-9038
1412 Solano Avenue Albany CA 94706

Nov 1 - Day of the Dead Procession & Ceremony

Friday November 1, 2013 6:30 PM - Friday November 1, 2013 6:30 PM

Cuatli Mitotiani Mexica Aztec Dancers

Friday, November 1st

6:30 pm: Meet at the northeast corner of Solano Avenue & The Alameda in North Berkeley to begin the procession to the community altar at Gathering Tribes. We will be led by the Cuatli Mitotiani Mexica Aztec Dancers.  Bring drums, rattles, flowers, etc.  Feel free to paint your face in the Dia de los Muertos style!

7:15 pm: Day of Dead Community Altar at Gathering Tribes: 1412 Solano Avenue, Albany  Please feel free to bring: photos of your beloved departed, their favorite snacks & beverages, written messages to them, candles, art & photocopies of your beloved departed (we will dispose of them in a sacred fire with prayers).

In 1994, the owner of Gathering Tribes (who is of Native American/Mexican/European descent) created an altar in the gallery window to honor her father who had passed away the year before.  During the following months many people came to the gallery asking what the altar was about.  At that time very few mainstream U.S. citizens were familiar with Dia de los Muertos.  Many people were moved, especially men thinking about a daughter honoring her father is such a public way.  It was then that we realized there was a need in the community for a more public honoring of the dead.  Each year thereafter, we have created a community altar for everyone to honor and remember their beloved departed.  And, we are very honored to have the participation of the Cuatli Mitotiani Mexica dancers join us each year.

Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a celebration of those who have passed in to the spirit world that predates the European colonization of the Americas.  It is an ancient tradition that dates back at least 3,000 years and has been practiced in Mexico and Central America, and more recently in the northern countries of the United States and Canada.  In the countries where the tradition has been passed along, families have individual altars to remember their beloved departed in their homes.  They also proceed to the cemetaries to clean the graves and feast on the favorite foods and beverages of their loved ones.  It is believed that the spirits of the dead enjoy marigold flowers and the families place them on the altars and leave trails of them from their homes to the cemetaries.

In many Dia de los Muertos traditions, it is understood that the life we live in the material world is actually the "dream", while the life after death is the true life.  Thus, the sometimes comical folk art of skeletons at work and daily life, with fanciful flowers and symbols painted on the skulls.  In fact, an entire cottage industry has arisen around Day of the Dead folk art with it being collected around the world.

In some traditions it is believed that "dying well" is as important as living well, and that the manner in which one accepts and faces their death determines which level of the spirit world they will go. 

Gathering Tribes has an excellent selection of Day of the Dead folk art and free instructions on how to make your own altar at home.

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