Asian and Latino Festivities: All Welcome
By Sean Telles
Arcadia & El Monte, Ca -
Two unique and worthwhile cultural events are taking place in the San Gabriel Valley: the 626 Night Market on October 21 and 22 in Arcadia and Dia de los Muertos/The Day of the Dead on October 27 in El Monte. The first event is based in Asian culture and the second in Latino, however, both are designed as inclusive fun-fairs for the entire family, no matter your cultural heritage.
The 626 Night Market is based in the Asian cultural happening of shopping at night in an outdoor bazaar environment while enjoying food, shopping, and community. The 626 Night Market advertises itself as the largest Asian night market in Los Angeles and judging from its two previous events this year, that charge would be hard to disprove. The first event was so popular it forced the closure of a Pasadena street and brought in helicopters, the second was held at Pasadena City Hall. This third event will be moving east to Arcadia’s world famous racetrack, Santa Anita Park, in the hopes of both a larger and more personal event. The night market will also be changing from a one-day affair to a two-day weekend extravaganza.
The following weekend, Dia de los Muertos/Day of the Dead is taking place in El Monte’s Valley Mall. Often misunderstood as Mexico’s Halloween, the celebration is actually about remembering people who have passed away. This process of remembering can be traditional or bizarre. The most common practice is to build an altar where photographs, clothing, drinks, and other personal items are offered up to a past loved one. But the reverence can also take the form of the ridiculous, such as a dancing skeleton Elvis. The day is personified magic realism: both heartfelt and unreal.
This year’s event will feature traditional Mexican arts and crafts vendors, a poet’s corner, a curated art gallery, and live performances featuring Aztec dancers, mariachi music, and ballet folklorico. The event is hosted by The Nuvein Foundation for Literature and the Arts, which works to inspire and connect communities to the arts, encourage emerging local artists, provide resources for arts education students, and offer opportunities to showcase the arts all across the San Gabriel Valley.
Both the 626 Night Market and Dia de los Muertos will be celebrating their third event.