Dia de los Muertos was recognized in colorful fashion Sunday at downtowns Merced Theatre with a performance by Sol Del Valle.
Sol del Valle started in Merced in 2008 with only 10 performers and has now grown to 45.
According to the events program, Sol del Valle is a community of volunteers working to maintain the culture and traditions of Mexico through visual, fine and performing arts. The mission of Sol del Valle is to promote the culture of Mexico, to educate the local community and promote awareness of other cultures.
The group also was celebrating its fifth anniversary, and its first event at the historical Merced Theatre. Organizers said they were proud to finally be able to hold their event at the Merced Theatre, and that they sold 300 tickets in advance of the show.
Performances included music from traditional Mexican bands and ballet folklorico dance. Many attendees were dressed up in traditional clothing with their faces painted. Dia de los Muertos, which translates to Day of the Dead in English, was started by native tribes of Mexico to continue their belief in the circle of life in which the dead play a part and are not to be feared, according to the program.
The program added that the Day of the Dead is one of the more mystical Hispanic celebrations, and it can be the most fulfilling. It represents a clash of pagan and Christian beliefs, but its message of death as continuance, not an end, can be uplifting. The true, irresistible nature of this tradition is appealing to more and more non-Hispanics, especially in the Southwest.