Families get chance to learn about Mexican culture

There were sugared skeletons, ghost stories and shrines to the dead, but it was more of a carnival atmosphere than a scary one for those taking part in a special event to mark the Mexican Day of the Dead in Norwich yesterday.

The event at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts at the University of East Anglia was a chance for families to learn first hand how Mexicans celebrate the traditional festival, which normally takes place on November 2.

Children had the chance to watch a traditional Mexican folk dance and also make colourful buntings, marigold flowers and a ritual 'eye of the God' to take home.

Graciela Sanchez de Mursell, from the teaching team Mexicolore, said that unlike Halloween, the day was more of a celebration of the brief return of absent relatives, than a day to frighten people and families would celebrate by setting out food for their lost loved ones and give each sugared skulls as presents to eat.

'It's a really traditional festival which goes back thousands of years,' she said. 'The idea is that we dance and we want to have a good time.'

Emily Ward, education and events officer at the Sainsbury Centre, said there had been a lot of interest in the event.

'It's gone really well and we have had a lot of people taking part in the activities,' she said.

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Above: Graciela Mursell teaches children to cook at the Mexican Day of the Dead Fiesta at Sainsbury Centre, Norwich. Left, youngsters get musical at the event. photos: andy darnell