Each year, the nonprofit Casa Circulo Cultural holds a great celebration for the Day of the Dead in Redwood City, and in this edition they transported residents and visitors on a trip through the Mayan culture, mainly to Guatemala.
The celebration of the Day of the Dead is a celebration full of life that has been celebrated in Redwood City for 13 years as the biggest holiday of the year, said Verónica Escámez, founder of Casa Círculo Cultural in an interview with Manuel Ortiz during the Peninsula 360 Radio program, in collaboration with Marcos Gutiérrez of “Hecho en California”.
During the celebration, artistic pieces referring to the Mayan culture were created by Casa Círculo Cultural in collaboration with the plastic artist Fernando Escartiz.
The event held on November 5, featured the elaboration of a magnificent arch of Santa Catarina, one of the most recognized places in the city of Antigua Guatemala, and also shared the experience of the "Tuc Tuc", a very common means of transportation in the Central American country, a kind of motorcycle cab for three people.
Months before this celebration, staff from the organization traveled to Guatemala in order to learn about the cultural traditions of that country and conduct preliminary research to achieve a true experience from the Guatemalan culture.
Like every year, the altar contest was held, where the community participated in its creation.
With different themes, full of colors, flowers, food, art and a lot of creativity, these altars were placed inside the San Mateo County History Museum and are exhibited from Sunday, November 5 to November 11.
Within this exhibit, there is a giant "barrilete" (paper kite) brought from Guatemala. It is worth mentioning that this type of art takes up to 6 months to be made by Guatemalan families to be used in the celebration of the Day of the Dead.
The kite exhibited in the Museum already flew for this festival in Guatemala and did not break, something very common since they are made with Chinese paper, which makes them very fragile pieces, commented Verónica Escámez.
"We have two kites, one that is in the San Francisco Symphony and the other one here at the Museum of Redwood City; It is something magnificent because it is 14 feet. For the people who could not enter on Sunday because there was a huge line since the Museum reported an entry of 8 thousand people and many had to stay outside, can they go all week to see the altars" added Escámez.
When talking about the kites, Verónica commented that "families make them for their dead and, in this case, they had the opportunity to meet the man who made them, his wife and three daughters who have been helping since they were little to make this work that is made entirely with Chinese paper and mounted on bamboo sticks to lift them. Fernando brought it to them folded, and when it is stretched out, it looks like a real work of art".
The founder of Casa Círculo Cultural, highlighted that the exhibition has two very particular altars, one was made by the sheriff of San Mateo County, Christina Corpus, while the second was carried out by the first Latina supervisor in the county, Noelia Corzo.
In her opportunity, Anna Lee Mraz, coordinator of strategic initiatives of Casa Círculo Cultural, spoke about the altar dedicated to the victims of domestic violence, specifically in San Mateo County, where, since 2022, 5 women have lost their lives due to violence by their intimate partner. It is estimated that domestic violence affects about 10 thousand people in this county each year.
The altar against hate crimes was placed in honor of those who have died due to acts such as racism or discrimination, Mraz explained; In it, 13 photographs of those who were killed by such terrible attacks were presented.
This moving offering is a powerful symbol of remembrance and collective determination to confront the destructive forces of hate, she said.
It should be noted that, after this great celebration, many more events come, among them, Fernando Escartiz is preparing an exhibition where you can appreciate in depth the work done for this festival.
"All the textiles that were seen this weekend come from Guatemala, we wanted to bring costumes originating from that country; Huipiles (blouse or traditional dress of the indigenous and mestizos of the southern part of Mexico and Central America) that are very colorful with a story behind their elaboration, and we will prepare an exhibition so that people can see and admire them," added Escartiz.
To learn more about the work of artist Ferando Escartiz, you can follow him on his Instagram: fernandoescartiz.
In December, a special exhibition will be held in the Casa Círculo Cultural gallery, located in it 1900 Broadway St. Redwood City, in which all these clothing and artifacts from Guatemala will be exhibited, in addition to the work of artist Fernando Escartiz.
Remember to purchase the printed version of Peninsula 360 Press, where you will find much more information.
You may be interested in: Winning text of the contest "Love Letters to my dead" from Casa Círculo Cultural