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Amsterdam canals to host Day of the Dead boat parade today

A boat parade will go through the canals of Amsterdam on Saturday to celebrate the Day of the Dead, the traditional Mexican holiday.

It is organized by the Mexican Talent Network in the Netherlands in collaboration with the Embassy of Mexico in the Netherlands. The organizers invite the Mexican community in the Netherlands and all interested people to celebrate the Day of the Dead.

The Day of the Dead, or “Día de los Muertos” in Spanish, is a traditional Mexican holiday celebrated from October 31 to November 2. It is a occasion where families honor and remember deceased loved ones, believing that the spirits return to the world of the living during this time. Skulls and “calacas” (skeletons) are prevalent symbols. Parades, music, dances, and colorful costumes are also integral parts of the celebration.

“It’s an important tradition,” Alejandra Nettel, coordinator of creative industries for the Mexican Talent Network in the Netherlands, told NL Times. “It’s also an opportunity for people to reflect on a important part of life that everyone will eventually have to face. Many people don’t want to talk or think about it because it’s taboo,” she explained. “So we want to share this with people,” she added.

The parade in Amsterdam will take place on Saturday and will start from Amsterdam’s Public Library on the Oosterdokskade. There will be approximately 100-120 people on two boats by the organisers. The boats will be decorated in a Day of the Dead theme and people dressed up as Catrina or Catrín, the dressed female and male skeletons the celebration is known for.

People could sign up to join the parade with their own private boats. “We ask them to sign up because we want know exactly how many people will be there, since we’re offering them a gift. It also helps in sending the special playlist or any last-minute details,” Nettel explained. “But of course everyone is welcome to join us,” she remarked. Those who have signed up can anchor their boats at the pier in front of the OBA between 3:00-3:30 p.m.

The boat parade will start at 4 p.m. from the Oosterdokskade in front of Amsterdam Public Library. It will go via the Nieuwe Herengracht up until the Amstel, then Prinsengracht up until Leidsegracht, and then come back via Herengracht, Amstel again, and Oudeschans.

A map of the parade route is available here. The organizers have designated three viewing locations along the water for people to watch. Besides the starting point at the OBA Public Library on the Oosterdokskade, spectators can also gather at the National Opera and Ballet in front of the Stopera building along the Amstel. Another viewing location is where Vijzelstraat intersects with Herengracht. “There will be tables set up, and Pan de Muerto (“Bread of the Dead”), a traditional sweet bread eaten during the Day of the Dead, will be offered,” Nettel said. The boats will pass by each spot between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Regarding the parade taking place ten days earlier than the actual Day of the Dead, Nettel said, “It’s because of the Dutch weather! The longer we wait, the bigger the chances that the weather will not be good.” She admitted that this year’s edition will not exactly have typical Mexican weather. “Maybe next year we’ll do it in late September,” she said laughing.

The boat parade will kick off a week of events organized by the Mexican Talent Network in the Netherlands to celebrate the Day of the Dead across the country. From October 23 to 27, people can see the Altar of the Day of the Dead at the Instituto Cervantes in Utrecht. There will also be events at Casa Latina in Amsterdam, at Medusa Indoor in Kasteelhoeve, or at Dokzaal in Amsterdam, among others.

https://nltimes.nl/2023/10/21/amsterdam-canals-host-day-dead-boat-parade-today Amsterdam canals to host Day of the Dead boat parade today

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