The Victorian Government generously gives two rail passes a year to Seniors Card holders. I have been very remiss in taking up this benefit until today when I journeyed to Ballarat to visit the Ballaarat Quilters Exhibition which I will cover in another post. Readers with a keen eye will have noticed the variation in spelling. It goes back to a change in local government structures in 1994 when the spelling was changed, dropping the double ‘a’ to signify a new council.
Enough of history. I arrived in Ballarat at mid-morning and headed off to Alfred Deakin Square behind the Ballarat Art Gallery where MexVic was holding a Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration.
It was crazily delightful and a wonderful way to remember the dead. Fortunately there were enough informative signs to explain the event. Mexican people believe that a person is only truly dead once he or she is forgotten by their loved ones and Dia de Muertos celebrations are a way of keeping the memory and therefore the spirit of the person alive.
Ofrendas are set up in houses and public spaces dedicated to deceased loved ones, and objects are placed on them which were associated with the dead person. The scent of the flowers and incense is intended to guide the spirit of the dead person back to visit their loved ones. This beautiful ofreada was built by Ballarat’s Hispanic community and is dedicated tot he victims of the recent earthquakes in Mexico.
The Alfrombrista tapestry was made by Mexican artist Alejandro with a lot of help from celebration participants. It took a long time to fill in with coloured mulch and sands so I had to come back later in the day to see how it had progressed.
The Pan de Puerto is delicious, it is flavoured with orange to give it a strong aroma and bring the dead to the altar.
The day was very much for children, with special dances, crafting activities and of course piñata, which had them diving for sweets when it finally broke.
I discovered a tiny project/gallery space off the square, the current exhibition is Skipticism.
Beautiful Machines were some of the 322 photographs of sewing machines found at landfill sights and outside Skip in Cast was a skip bin cast embedded with found objects.
Before heading up the hill to the quilts I saw a bit of central Ballarat, with the Eureka flag flying of course. And visited the farmers market in Bridge Mall where there were some tempting plants, but not for a train traveller.
I also saw some beautifully bound journals which I thought would interest my friend Jenni.
I have to say the VLine train trip was most pleasant, and I will be sure to use my remaining voucher this year. When I finally got back to Southern Cross Station in the early evening it was full of interesting characters. The slightly tipsy ones dressed in black and white, many sans shoes, were on their way home from the races. I assume those dressed as fantasy characters had been to the Anime Festival at Jeff’s Shed. There was a most charming Kiki complete with a broomstick and cat Jiji peeping out of her bag on my platform as I waited for my Metro train.