Fourth annual All Souls Night to take place WednesdayEver thought something was a bad idea? Now’s your chance to bury it, or at least burn it. While you are at it, you can participate in a funeral march for bad ideas. The bad ideas will be written on paper and burned at the fourth annual All Souls Night.
Ever thought something was a bad idea? Now’s your chance to bury it, or at least burn it. While you are at it, you can participate in a funeral march for bad ideas. The bad ideas will be written on paper and burned at the fourth annual All Souls Night Wednesday, Nov. 2 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Duluth Depot.
Along with the burning ceremony, there will be costumes, puppets, music and dancing at the event, which celebrates the traditions of the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead.
“The event brings forth a lot of creativity,” said Mary Plaster, founder and artistic director of the festival. “We do displays on the inside of the Great Hall, and the second part of the event is a march around the library.”
The evening will begin at 6 p.m. inside the Depot’s Great Hall, where Kathy McTavish will play her cello. During this time, participants can have their faces painted and get the chance to carry on a tradition from the Mexican holiday.
“People can build ofrendas like they do for Dia de los Muertos,” Plaster said. “They can honor a loved one who has passed away.” The word “ofrenda” means “offering” in Spanish, and these alter displays are not meant for worshiping the dead, but rather to remember and honor a memory.
Following the ofrenda-making will be an event that is all new this year. At 6:30 p.m. the Ladyslipper Ethnic Dance Company will present a short dance piece inside the Great Hall, which will be followed by the procession lineup.
While some Proctor High School marching band members provide music, the 7 p.m. procession will make its way around the Duluth Public Library downtown. Stilt walkers with the Magic Smelt Puppet Troupe will accompany the procession.
This procession is referred to as the funeral march for rotten ideas, Plaster said. Those attending get the chance to write down something that they don’t agree with and carry it with them on the march.
“It’s sort of the same idea as the Occupy Duluth movement,” Plaster said. “It’s a little bit of a political bend on things that aren’t working, and being around the elections makes it timely.”
Once the procession is complete, a community gathering led by Katie Neff Dawson will take place in the covered pavilion of the Duluth Public Library starting at 7:30 p.m., and Spin Collective fire dancers and musicians will perform at 8 p.m.
There will be a number of activities that represent traditions of the Day of the Dead holiday.
“The papers with the bad ideas will be burned as a symbolic gesture of something ending and being reborn,” Plaster said. “Then we say the names of loved ones that we are remembering.”
“We are recognizing the idea that death and grieving isn’t just in one culture,” Plaster added. “When you look at different cultures around the world, there are different ways of honoring how things change. Some things have to die before new things can be reborn.”
“I’m really impressed with the whole cultural concept of celebrating our relationship with the dearly departed,” said Michael K. Anderson, a photographer in Duluth who attended the event last year. “The person making the displays is actually bringing some of those things that were a big part of that person’s life and placing them on the alter.”
All Souls Night started in 2008 as a closing reception for a display at the Duluth Art Institute, according to Plaster. The event has been held every year since.
Prior to Wednesday’s festival will be an ofrenda-making event, where attendees will have the chance to build alter displays for All Souls Night. Ofrenda-setup will take place in the Depot’s Great Hall Sunday, Oct. 30 during the afternoon.
Those hoping to decorate a table are encouraged to contact Plaster. To reach her, visit www.maryplaster.com and click on the “contact” tab. School groups are welcome to decorate tables by appointment on Monday, Oct. 31.
The ofrendas will be on display Tuesday, Nov. 1 and Wednesday, Nov. 2 during the Duluth Depot’s hours of 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The displays will be taken down Thursday, Nov. 3 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Depot.
For more information, visit Plaster’s website at www.maryplaster.com.
Michael K. Anderson, a photographer in Duluth who attended All Souls Night last year.