REDLANDS» Sandra Perez of Highland kept a watchful eye on her son, Nickolas, as he took a washable Crayola marker to a blank canvas shaped as a mask Saturday at a Dia de Los Muertos celebration at the University of Redlands.
The 6-year-old was careful with his selection of colors as he used a mix of browns, reds, yellows and oranges to create his craft to take home.
Dozens followed Nickolas’ lead and created a number of items to take home honoring and celebrating the holiday, which translates in English to Day of the Dead.
The traditional Mexican holiday, which honors loved ones who have died, is celebrated in Mexico on three consecutive days — Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 and 2.
The Redlands Sister Cities Association, along with the university’s Campus Diversity and Inclusion and MEChA, hosted the event in the Casa Loma Room Saturday was the second time the association has held the celebration.
Perez, originally from Mexico, said it was important for her son to get in touch with their family’s culture and enrich his heritage.
“It’s very exciting,” Perez said as she, Nickolas and husband Francisco made their way to another station at the event. “I saw a flier (about the event) at Trader Joe’s, and I’m going to promote it actually, because it’s awesome for the kids and families.”
Carrie Buchen agreed.
The Redlands resident — who just recently moved to the area with her family — learned about the event from her nephew who attends the Norton Space and Aeronautics Academy in San Bernardino.
“It’s really cool and quite interesting,” she said as she helped her 4-year-old son, August, put together a playdough skeleton. “We really like the altars.”
One of the highlights of Saturday’s celebration was St. Mary’s Ballet Folklorico of Redlands, which performed traditional Mexican dances to dozens who captured the action on their phones or digital cameras.
Lowa Anderson, second vice president of the Redlands Sister Cities Association, said praised the event.
“It’s important for the families, from the ones I’ve been talking to, to understand all cultures,” she said. “A lot of schoolteachers have brought their schoolchildren here because they want to understand culture and that’s why we’re here.
“It’s healthy for children to come and see this.”
Students from both the university and Redlands High School donated their time to Saturday’s effort.
Redlands Daily Facts 11/03/2013
By Kristina Hernandez
email@example.com @TheFactsKris on Twitter