Well, the Salt Lake City Mayor’s Office certainly was ready for Día de los Muertos.
Mayor Jackie Biskupski kicked off the Mexican Day of the Dead Thursday afternoon with a proclamation honoring the holiday, which began Oct. 31 and continues through Saturday, Nov. 2, as Mexican and Mexican-American families across the globe pay tribute to loved ones who have passed away.
“Thank you to all of you who celebrate Día de los Muertos and share this beautiful tradition with our community,” Biskupski said in a news conference at City Hall, gamely trying out her work-in-progress Spanish pronunciation before the gathering of mostly Latino media outlets.
The holiday spirit was alive and well in the hallway on the third floor of City Hall, with traditional offerings of family photographs, soda cans and other mementos placed by city staffers on two tables flanking the mayor’s office. José Borjón, the Mexican consul in Salt Lake, also showed up, along with state Rep. Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake, and Rocío Mejía of the West Jordan-based social services group Una Mano Amiga.
“I think people mistake Halloween for what we’re talking about here today, and that’s not what this is,” Romero said. “This is about celebration of our ancestors and our loved ones, and so we must remember that we can’t put the two celebrations together because they have two different meanings and they have two different purposes.”
The dance troupe Ballet Folklórico ECK Juvenil ended the laid-back press conference with lively performances of baile folklórico, choreographed dances of Mexican regional culture. Mariachi songs echoed through the halls as young women swirled in colorful dresses and boys stomped their booted feet while decked out in ornately-decorated sombreros.