Cemetery celebrations: The Gatehouse owner Annmarie Sloane in preparation mode for the upcoming festivities. Photo: RUBY STALEY

Lively celebrations for the dead

October 29, 2020 BY

FOR the second year running The Gatehouse is set to host a Dia De Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, event at a Ballarat’s New Cemetery.

Celebrations run from 31 October until 3 November and owner Annmarie Sloane said it’s all about life and death coming together set against the reverent surrounds of her café.

“Dia De Los Muertos, traditionally celebrated by Latino cultures, basically is Day of the Dead which means everyone comes together, go to the cemetery and visit their loved ones that have passed and place candles and flowers and memorabilia,” she said.

“It’s a time where we are inviting the community to come and celebrate as we will have extended trading hours as well.

“The cemetery has 24-hour access and you can come at night and buy LED candles form us and take them to the graves of your loved ones and celebrate them and remember them.”

In addition to the memorial gatherings, The Gatehouse will also be offering a range of Mexican inspired food, beverages and treats as well as usual menu offerings and other cultural appropriate activities.

As part of the celebrations, Ms Sloane said The Gatehouse will host several altars, or ofrendas, as a space for people to bring photos and memorabilia to recognise them and pay their respects.

“I will have two altars which are called ofrendas, both outside and upstairs which will have 24-hour access, for people to bring things that remind them of their loved ones,” she said.

“The site will also be decorated in colour with beautiful traditional things and we will have our faces painted and in costumes.

“Unfortunately, this year we won’t be able to do face painting for the public though because of COVID practices.”

Although this is the second time she had celebrated this event at The Gatehouse, Ms Sloane said she’s always loved and appreciated the holiday as a way to honour and remember the dead alongside the living.

“I’m very aware of my surroundings and I’m very reverent to where I am situated so to be able to facilitate this event here is very dear to my heart,” she said.

“I think this cultural event is very appropriate to where I am and it embraces community that are still around and those who have passed away all in one.

“This is a perfect event for safe social distancing but still being able to do something on a community based level to support each other and feed our souls.”

For more information on the event, visit The Gatehouse’s Facebook page.