Rockefeller Center honors Mexican heritage with Dia De Los Muertos celebration

Adriana Maria, Opinions Editor

The Rockefeller Center decorated their center with colorful displays to celebrate the traditional Mexican holiday, Dia de los Muertos.

Week-long festivities that consist of Mexican art, food, culture, education and music were cohosted by NYC’s Consulate General of Mexico, the Mexican Cultural Institute and the Museo de Arte Moderno.

Mexico Week: Día De Muertos was held for the second year in New York City’s famed cultural monument, from Oct. 27 to Nov. 2. It was a free event, open to the public.

“Day of the Dead” is a two-day festival that reunites the living with the dead. Observers believe the departed spirits of their loved ones share a meal with them.

New Yorkers could visit the Center Plaza to view an ofrenda, an altar that celebrates departed loved ones, that honors Mexican modern sculptures made by Tónico Visual.

Sculptures found on the altar are inspired by Pedro Reyes’ book, “Monumental: The Public Dimension of Sculpture.”

The ofrenda is complemented by two large alebrijes designed by Cesar Menchaca, which depict a jaguar and Quetzalcoatl, a Mesoamerican deity.

Menchaca’s work was displayed at the Top of the Rock Observation Deck. Tickets ranged from $34 to $110, and featured 15 skeleton figures that resemble La Catrina, Mexico’s Lady of the Dead.

There were two exhibits, one in remembrance of Mexican artist José Guadalupe Posada and the other a vivid portrayal of Reyes’ novel, “Monumental.”

The Monumental exhibit showcased Mexico’s architecture. It featured visuals of modern sculpture in Mexico and their history, featuring 29 essays and 13 interviews.

As part of Mexico Week, a tianguis was featured which resembles open street markets in many Mexican towns where shoppers can purchase food, artisanal goods and indigenous textile handcrafted by Carla Fernández. Participants also had the chance to learn about the art of sipping tequila with Tequila Casa Dragones.

Mexico Week was an authentic recreation of the Dia de los Muertos holiday. The modern celebration is a blend of indigenous and Catholic traditions that is observed on Nov.  1 and 2.

When asked about the Rockefeller event, Jorge Islas, the Consulate General of Mexico in NYC, said it was “an inheritance of the Contemporary Mexico from our indigenous communities that have been celebrating this tradition since pre-Hispanic times.”

As the Rockefeller Center, a well-known monument, acknowledges an indigenous Mexican holiday, more of the Mexican influence in our society is recognized.

Mayor Eric Adams recognized Mexican-Americans’ contributions to the country. “It was our emerging immigrant population, and specifically the Mexican community that carried out the role to ensure that this city was still able to continue to function and that is something that we need to acknowledge,” He said.

“The immigrant community does not need America, America needs the immigrant community.”