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Oxford Treehouse Gallery to Host Inaugural "Day of the Dead" Party

The Oxford Treehouse Gallery will be hosting its first annual Day of the Dead party  from 6 – 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2.

“The Day of the Dead is a time to welcome back our loved ones who continue to hold a place in our hearts though they are not physically present,” said Vivian Neill, co-owner of the gallery. “It’s a celebratory event, a sacred day and a communal way to honor those who have died.”
The Day of the Dead, or Día de Muertos, is a traditional Mexican holiday that lasts from Oct. 31 until Nov. 2. Similar to the upcoming event, the holiday is unique in its celebration of death as the end of lives well lived. Rather than mourning those who are gone, the Day of the Dead has individuals remember their loved ones with fondness.
Attendees are encouraged to bring their loved one’s favorite dish or drink to share as part of the potluck.
Father Joe Tonos from Oxford’s Saint John the Evangelist Catholic Church will open the event with a blessing at 6 p.m.

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The “All Souls Altar” will be set up on the back porch for guests to place offerings for those who have departed such as photographs, treasured items, flowers and food to honor their symbolic return.
The party will include a “Memorial Roll Call” where guests are encouraged to submit the names of loved ones who have passed to be called out by the event emcees at sundown.
The event is a result of both Vivian Neill and gallery assistant Shannon Curtis’ desire to start an official annual celebration of the Day of the Dead for the Oxford community.
“Though I grew up Catholic and we honored All Souls Day, it wasn’t until last year at this time that a close friend of mine in Birmingham told me about a huge Day of the Dead event there that was started at an art gallery and my interest was piqued,” Neill said. “My 23-year-old nephew died last year and I realized that my mother (95 at the time) had her own Day of the Dead ritual at his grave daily. I couldn’t organize the event in time to celebrate it last year but knew that I would eventually. My mother died this summer at 96, so this year seemed like the time to make it happen.”
Both Neill and Curtis wish to emphasize that the party is open for everyone to celebrate and that it is a time for celebration and healing.
“I think people are naturally drawn to sharing memories of their loved ones,” Neill said. “I hope that people will enjoy sharing their memorabilia and the favorite food and drinks of their loved ones and that the event will grow to include original art created specifically for this event.”
For more information, individuals can contact Vivian Neill by phone at 662-236-1667 or email at OxfordTreehouseGallery@gmail.com.


By Zach Hollingsworth is an intern for HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at zhhollin@go.olemiss.edu
For more questions or comments email us at hottytoddynews@gmail.com

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