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Día de Muertos discussed, during May Speak Story Series

May 24, 2019
Tabitha Johnston - Chronicle Staff , Shepherdstown Chronicle

SHEPHERDSTOWN -- The Speak Story Series scheduled their storyteller on May 14 at just the right time. Carolina Quiroga-Stultz, a bilingual storyteller from Colombia, was named in April as a new voice on the stage of the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee.

As Speak Story Series founder Adam Booth explained, Quiroga-Stultz's schedule will soon be heavily booked, thanks to the festival. But regardless of her success, Quiroga-Stultz gave her storytelling her all, as she wove together tales relating to the Day of the Dead, which is celebrated throughout Central and South America.

"So Da de Muertos is a Latin American celebration," Quiroga-Stultz said, after introducing audience members to the holiday with a National Geographic video on the subject. "It's mostly celebrated like that in Mexico. We call those days "of the blessed," and in the rest of Latin America, we celebrate it by attending church and praying for friends and family members who have died.

Article Photos

Carolina Quiroga-Stultz presented “Muertos: The Souls of the Dead,” during the Speak Story Series event in Reynolds Hall on May 14. Pictured is one of the props used in her presentation, an example of an altar for an ancestor. Tabitha Johnston

In some Latin American countries, Quiroga-Stultz said altars are erected in honor of the dead, which are decorated with photographs and items connected with the person honored by the altar.

"We try to remember and tell them they are here with us, in the dinners, in the stories, in the objects," Quiroga-Stultz said.

According to Quiroga-Stultz, she grew up unaware of the large parties sometimes associated with the Day of the Dead, because Colombians do not celebrate the holiday in the same way Mexicans do. But when she moved to San Antonio, Texas and became aware of the Mexican festivities, she embraced them with open arms. She realized, as she tried to learn more about the festivities, that there were no storytellers talking about the Day of the Dead, which she decided to change.

"Normally when people think of Da de Muertos, they think of food or music, they don't think of stories. Part of peoples' celebrations in Mexico, is they tell stories about their dead," Quiroga-Stultz said. "I asked people the stories behind Da de Muertos. Nobody knew them, so I did the research."

To this day, she said she has not heard of anyone else who tells stories about the Day of the Dead.

According to Quiroga-Stultz, she's anticipating a wonderful time at the National Storytelling Festival in October.

"They contacted me at the beginning of the year about it, but I had to keep it quiet until two or three weeks ago," Quiroga-Stultz said. "I'm super excited, it's a dream come true!"

After telling ghost and Day of the Dead stories at the Speak Story Series, Quiroga-Stultz took some less-frightening stories to the Culture Club at Spring Mills Middle School and Spanish classes at South Middle School on May 15.

 
 
 

 

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