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I once saw a sign hanging at an exhibit held at the Mexican Cultural Institute. The words belonged to the late Octavio Paz, probably Mexico’s greatest poet: “Our cult of Death is a cult of Life, just as Love, the hunger for Life, is the longing for Death.” Mexico’s fascination with the Grim Reaper has always seemed a little curious to some. And to some, it may seem weird that in Mexico, bus drivers decorate their buses with skeletons or that children feast on skull-shaped candies at funerals. Mexicans aren’t death-obsessed, but as the Web site Mexico OnLine (www.mexonline.com/daydead.htm) explains, “[T]hey recognize it, mock it, even defy it. Death is part of life and, as such, it’s representative of the Mexican spirit and tradition which says, ‘Don’t take anything lying downeven death!’” Learn more about the Nov. 1 holiday at the Institute’s Altar to the Day of the Dead. While there, try the pan de muerto and place offerings on the traditional holiday altar. At 7 p.m. at the Mexican Cultural Institute, 2829 16th St. NW. Free. For reservations call (202) 728-1675. (Ayesha Morris)