A centuries-old celebration of life and death comes together with La Catrina, Keeping the Spirits Alive, a new fundraising event for The Mexican Museum, a San Francisco treasure nationally-renowned for showcasing the richness of Mexican and Mexican American, Chicano and Latino art and culture. The benefit for the Museum, will take place on Saturday, Oct. 29 from 6-11 p.m. at the Concourse Exhibition Center, at 7th and Brannan Streets, in San Francisco. The evening’s festivities includes cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, dancing, entertainment, and a costume contest.

Attendees of La Catrina, Keeping the Spirits Alive will enter a colorful village environment where vendors will offer an array of dishes featuring delicious cuisine. As they walk further in the zocalo, guests will see and experience the many traditional altars created by local artists to remember departed loved ones. Private altars such as these are traditionally decorated not only with the deceased loved ones’ favorite foods and drinks, but also with a glass of water so they may quench their thirst after the long journey. Marigolds are also part of the celebration, and the aroma of these colorful flowers fill the air, creating a path for the souls to find their way home.

And for the living, the night will be filled with the sounds of Mariachi Femenil Orgullo Mexicano and the cumbia and salsa sounds of Grupo Los Ejecutivos. But, attendees who choose to dance to Mariachi Femenil’s lively Latin rhythms best keep an eye out, as they may be joined on the dance floor by La Catrina, the flirtatious skeleton always dressed in her finery and whose smile invites us to seize the moment. La Catrina, created by the artist José Guadalupe Posada, represents the joy of life in the face of our inevitable death.

The iconic figure of La Catrina is an integral part of Día de los Muertos celebrations in Mexico and throughout the United States. On Día de los Muertos, it is believed that the souls of those who have died return to visit the living. It is a Mexican holiday that has been celebrated for centuries, tracing back to a similar ritual observed by the Aztecs. It is now celebrated in certain parts of the United States on Nov. 1 and 2. The underlying theme for this holiday is that it is a time of great celebration, not mourning.

Tickets for The Mexican Museum’s La Catrina, Keeping the Spirits Alive benefit on October 29th from 6pm-11pm are $100 per person for general admission, or $150 for VIP admission. Special ticket prices for those 30 and younger are available for $50 per person with ID. To purchase tickets online, go to http://themexicanmuseumsf.eventbrite.com, or by calling (415) 202-9700.  All proceeds go to The Mexican Museum.

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