Cultural Voice eZine

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

'Dia de los Muertos' - The Embassy of Mexico in Jamaica Celebrates the Day of the Dead

As practised by the indigenous communities of Mexico, el Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) commemorated the transitory return to Earth of deceasedrelatives and loves ones.

The festivals take place eachyear at the end of October to the beginning of November. This period also marks the completion of the annual cycle of cultuvation of maize, the country's predominant food crop. Families facilitate the return of the souls to Earth by laying flower petals, candles and offerings along the path leading from the cemetry to their homes. The deceased's favourite dishes are prepared and placed around the home shrine and the tomb alongside flowers and typical handicrafts such as paper cutouts. Great care is taken with all aspects of the preparations for it is believed that the dead are capable of bringing prosperity or misfortune upon their families depending on how satisfactorily the rituals are executed.

The Day of the Dead celebrations holds great significance in the life of Mexico's indigenous communities. The fusion of pre Hispanic religious rites and Catholic feasts brings togeher two universes, one marked by indigenous belief systems, the other by worldviews introduced by the Europeans in the sixteenth century. Due to its importance to the preservation of cultural identity, The Indigenoud Festival Dedicated to the Dead was proclaimed by UNESCO in 2003, "Masterpiece of the Oral and intangible Heritage of Humanity".

The Mexican Embassy in Jamaica celebrated this event on October 30th 2012 in Kingston, with other Ambassadors showing great support including Ambassadors from Brazil, Dominican Republic, the European Union, Cuba, Belgium, among others.

The Ambassador of Mexico to Jamaica
H.E. Gerardo Lozano Arredondo in conversation
with a guest. More pictures from the event are available at

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Deadline Approaching!! 2012 Intercultural Innovation Award

Sustainable Cultural Diversity: 2012 Intercultural Innovation Award Launched
Now accepting applications. Over 400 participants in 2011.

NEW YORK/MUNICH —The BMW Group and the UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) are inviting organizations to apply for the Intercultural Innovation Award. Grassroots initiatives that are promoting intercultural understanding and cooperation in new and sustainable ways shall be recognized.

The Intercultural Innovation Award is a partnership between the BMW Group and the UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), a special project of the UN Secretary-General.

Both BMW Group and the UNAOC favor projects that are sustainable, make a long lasting impact and have the potential to benefit the widest possible audience. An international jury of scholars and experts from different regions of the world will assess this year’s applications to ensure that winning projects are innovative and impactful. Five top winners will be announced at an awards ceremony that will take place at the 5th Forum of the UNAOC in Vienna, Austria in February 2013.

In addition to a monetary prize winners will benefit from support and consulting services from the UNAOC and the BMW Group over the course of a year. The help provided is individualized to the specific needs of winners, and includes outreach and communications support, fundraising, or networking with funders and sponsors.

In 2011, the award received more than 400 applications from 70 countries. This year, the UNAOC and the BMW Group want to expand their commitment to support innovative grassroots projects from all over the world. In an effort to reach out to the global community, application guidelines are available in 10 languages including Arabic, Chinese, Kiswahili or Hebrew and can be found in

Deadline for submissions is October 10th, 2012.