LANSING, Mich. — Hispanic Heritage Month begins Sept. 15 and the Casa de Rosado in south Lansing is already celebrating with preparations for the Day of the Dead.
Casa de Rosado is home to works of art, exhibits and workshops that honor the Latino community in Michigan.
La Casa de Rosado is run by Theresa Rosado who opened the gallery in 2017. She features Latino, indigenous and Chicano artwork and offers community programs.
“This is not an exhibit. This is an actual living tradition," Rosado said.
She also brings programs to Lansing's schools. She provides materials and utensils to classrooms across the city and teaches students about the cultures many of them come from.
“It’s a way for the kids to not only have a social studies unit and a fun way of practicing social studies but it also became something meaningful to the Chicanx community in Lansing. It’s a way of reconnecting to heritage and culture," Rosado said. Chincanx is a gender-neutral form of Chicano and Chicana.
As fall approaches Rosado is preparing for El Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead.
“Dia de los muertos is a celebration of life, it’s done in memory of people that have passed-- our loved ones, our ancestors and every year, in fact this is the 25th year that we have celebrated dia de los muertos in Lansing," she said.
An important part of Dia de los Muertos are the calaveras, or sugar skulls.
“These are traditionally made for Dia de los Muertos and they’re placed on the ofrenda in memory of a person who has passed," Rosado said.
Truly authentic calaveras are often made with royal frosting and real sugar, but they're not meant to be eaten.
"We found that especially with younger kids and not knowing the age ranges of who is going to be there that glitter glue works really well," she said. "Also the puffy paint and fabric paint you can find at the dollar store works great and gives us this nice raised feature.”
Calaveras sit on intricate altars called ofrendas on which people also place offerings of food, trinkets or drinks for the departed to enjoy. Rosado says that Dia de los Muertos helps people feel closer to the ones they've lost and here in Lansing, closer to their own cultures too.
“Its a way of reconnecting to heritage and culture. Many come from Texas and Mexico where it’s celebrated in those regions there’s different little pockets where it’s celebrated so Lansing is one of those pockets that celebrates dia de los muertos," she said.
Dia de los Muertos begins on Nov. 1.
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