All Souls Night at Duluth Depot Great Hall

The third annual Duluth All Souls Night will be held in the Great Hall of the downtown Depot on the evening of Tuesday, Nov. 2, 6-9 p.m.

The Feast of All Souls holiday traditionally focuses on gatherings of friends and family, who remember and celebrate the lives of loved ones and others who have passed on. We shall honor specific friends, ancestors and heroes through art and festivities of old and new world traditions, especially the Mexican Dias de los Muertos (Days of the Dead). We also creatively examine difficult quality-of-life challenges, such as homelessness and environmental decline.

During the evening the Cosmic Pit Orchestra provides music for display and costume appreciation. Weather permitting a mock funeral march will then proceed across the street and around the public library, ending up at the outdoor plaza for a short ritual gathering with spoken word by poets Sheila Packa and Ellie Schoenfeld. The finale features the Spin Collective fire dancers with drums and various instruments.

Anyone can set up memorabilia for an individual or a broader social justice issue in the ofrenda (altar) display in the Great Hall of the downtown Depot. Tables are decorated including photos, favorite foods, small objects, flowers, and candles. The theme displays can be delightfully humorous and imaginatively express whatever is weighing heavy on the heart in a respectful and healthy way.

Everyone is invited to participate, and all are encouraged to dress up as whimsical skeletons and carry signs or giant puppets and join with music-making! For information on the All Souls altars or procession, including volunteering  or anything else, contact the artist/organizer: Mary Plaster.

In a related event the Duluth Children’s Museum will host a wonderful 45-minute puppet show which explains many of the Day of the Dead traditions: Skeletons in the Closet by Julie & Gustavo Boada of Minneapolis.

This bilingual (Spanish and English) performance is a tender story of children who are remembering their grandparents who have passed away. As the children follow their curiosity, they discover the meaning of the Day of the Dead and that the connection they have with their grandparents continues beyond death. The story is a celebration of love and the cycle of life.

The Duluth Children’s Museum will also host related craft activities such as paper flower construction, skull and picture frame decorating in preparation for the evening.

Depot Great Hall Events at a Glance:

October 24 @ 1:00 and 4:00 pm:  Skeletons in the Closet puppet show (DCM)

October 31 from 1-5 pm:  Ofrenda (altar) setup (anyone is welcome to set up a display in the Great Hall of the Duluth Depot!)

November 2 & 3 from 10-5: Ofrenda (altar) viewing (take down 3:00 on the 3rd)

November 2 from 3-5 pm: All Souls Day kids craft activities at Duluth Children’s Museum

November 2 from 6-9 pm: All Souls Night intergenerational events

Suggested donation: $10

This event has received an Arrowhead Regional Arts Council 2010 Art Project grant. Funding for the ARAC grant programs and services is made possible through appropriations from the Minnesota State Legislature and the McKnight Foundation and support by the Minnesota arts and cultural heritage fund as appropriated by the State Legislature with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on Nov. 4, 2008.

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