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Remembering pioneer mule packer on Dia de los Muertos in Boise

Annual celebrations have taken place at the grave of Jesus Urquides, Boise’s pioneer mule packer, at Pioneer Cemetery during Dia de los Muertos.
Annual celebrations have taken place at the grave of Jesus Urquides, Boise’s pioneer mule packer, at Pioneer Cemetery during Dia de los Muertos. kjones@idahostatesman.com

The Friends Of Jesus Urquides group invites the public to celebrate the life of Mexican pioneer Jesus Urquides, an Idaho muleteer on Monday, Nov. 2, Dia de los Muertos.

The event begins at 4 p.m. at the Jesus Urquides Memorial at Main and First Streets near Broadway Avenue. Author Max Delgado, who wrote a book about Urquides will tell stories about Boise’s Spanish Village. Boise Artist Dwaine Carver will speak about the Urquides Memorial public art installation.

A procession to Urquides’ grave at Pioneer Cemetery on Warm Springs Avenue will follow at 5 p.m.. Ana Maria Schachtell will speak on the Dia de los Muertos tradition. Norma Pintar will perform pre-Colombian dances. Free hot chocolate and Mexican pastries will be available.

More about the celebrated mule packer and Boise’s Spanish Village:

Urquides arrived in Idaho around 1863 from Sonora, Mexico, via California, always staying ahead of rail road development. For decades, Boise residents referred to a cluster of small cabins on Main Street as “Spanish Village.” Historian Max Delgado has researched the history behind the legend and discovered a community of 19th century Mexican pioneers.

In 2013, as part of its sesquicentennial celebration, the city of Boise dedicated the Jesus Urquides Memorial on the sidewalk where the Spanish Village was located from around 1863 to 1973. The memorial was designed by Boise artist Dwaine Carver.

Dia de los Muertos is a traditional Mexican holiday of remembrance when people honor and celebrate the lives of friends and family who have died. It is also a time to reflect upon our personal lives and the cycle of life and death. It is not to be confused with Halloween, said event organizer Schachtell.

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