If you’re in New York City, U.S.A. between Oct. 27 and Nov. 2 this year, you’ll want to check out a cool “Dia de los Muertos” event at Rockefeller Center.
For the third consecutive year, Tequila Casa Dragones and Rockefeller Center are presenting “Mexico Week: Día De Muertos at Rockefeller Center” alongside The Consulate General of Mexico in New York City.
The annual event celebrates Mexico’s heritage and contemporary culture, with this year highlighting a modern Mexican artist, Daniel Valero of Mestiz design studio based in San Miguel de Allende.
On Friday, Oct. 27, Rockefeller Center will unveil the ofrenda — an altar that honors the lives of lost loved ones — with a ceremony on Center Plaza at 30 Rockefeller Plaza featuring the Maestra Tequilera Bertha González Nieves, CEO and co-founder of Tequila Casa Dragones, Mexican Consul General Jorge Islas and artist Daniel Valero of Mestiz.
DIA DE LOS MUERTOS ORIGINS
Día de los Muertos’ origin is the harmony between the celebration of Catholic religious rituals brought by the Spanish, and the commemoration of the day of the dead that the indigenous people have observed since pre-Hispanic times. Celebrated by the ancient Mexicas, Mixtecs, Texcocans, Zapotecs, Tlaxcalans, Totonacs and other native peoples, it was believed that upon dying, the souls traveled to Chicunamictlán, the Land of the Dead. Only after getting through nine challenging levels could the person’s soul finally reach Mictlán, the final resting place.
Celebrated by the ancient Mexicas, Mixtecs, Texcocans, Zapotecs, Tlaxcalans, Totonacs and other native peoples, it was believed that upon dying, the souls traveled to Chicunamictlán, the Land of the Dead.
The Day of the Dead, in the indigenous vision, implies the transitory return of the souls of the deceased. Those who return home to the world of the living, will be nourished by the essence of the food that is offered to them by their relatives on the altars displayed in their honor. According to tradition, the border between the spirit world and the real-world dissolves at midnight and the spirits of children and adults can rejoin their families from Nov. 1 to Nov. 2.
HONORING MEXICAN TRADITION
“Mexico Week at Rockefeller Center” will honor Mexican tradition and heritage through the modern work of Daniel Valero. Committed to Mexican authenticity, craftsmanship and quality, Casa Dragones commissions an award-winning Mexican architect and designer, Daniel Valero of Mestiz design studio, to create this year’s ofrenda, “Los Dos Soles.”
Mestiz, known for its signature use of colorful, vibrant objects and textiles inspired by natural surroundings, adorns the ofrenda in rays of sun to emulate agave leaves; an ode to Micltan, the land of eternal rest. The ofrenda exists as a symbolic portal to San Miguel de Allende, where Mestiz will showcase a similar ofrenda simultaneously at La Casa Dragones, the recently renovated and restored private home of the tequila brand.
This year’s ofrenda transcends the boundaries of space and time, allowing guests to take in the shared elements and colors that unite altars located in two distant locations, fostering a rich and cross-cultural perspective.
The celebrations will be held from Friday, Oct. 27 at 11:00 a.m. through Thursday, Nov. 2 at 5:00 p.m.. All events will be free and accessible to the public. New Yorkers and visitors are encouraged to actively participate by taking photos on the handwoven reptilian benches on the front of the ofrenda and pinning photos or letters to the back of the ofrenda in remembrance of cherished memories of their loved ones. This concept draws inspiration from the significance of the sun as the creator of life and the holiday’s celebration of life itself, embodying a deeply rooted Mexican cultural tradition.
“We’re proud to be presenting this extraordinary altar at Center Plaza celebrating the very best of modern Mexico and reinforcing our commitment to contemporary art and design,” says Casa Dragones CEO and co-founder Bertha González Nieves. “We are thrilled to invite viewers to interact with this symbolic portal that connects Rockefeller Center in New York City to our home in San Miguel de Allende, where they can celebrate life and embrace the spirit of Día de Muertos.”
Daniel Valero, Mexican architect and designer of Mestiz says: “Los Dos Soles asks guests to embrace the duality of life and death, acknowledging them as integral facets of our collective human journey,” adding: “This year’s ofrenda transcends the boundaries of space and time, allowing guests to take in the shared elements and colors that unite altars located in two distant locations, fostering a rich and cross-cultural perspective.”
To further celebrate contemporary Mexican creators, the festivities will include performances by Mexican dancer and choreographer Diego Vega Solorza, by invitation from TONO, where Diego will create a new choreographic intervention responding to the site at Rockefeller Center. This duet will be site-specific and involve elements of improvisation so the dancers can explore new movements.