By Mekialaya White

DENVER (CBS4) — Lively music drifted over the tops of buildings and through The Denver Art Museum’s Martin Building Amphitheater on Sunday morning. Mexican dancers wore stunning costumes, performing for a captivated audience as part of DAM’s 20th annual Día del Niño, which is an international bilingual celebration of children.

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Clara Ricciardi, Senior Spanish Language and Community Engagement Liaison for DAM, says the day began as a proclamation to ensure children felt valued.

“Especially after wars, after economic hardships, the people who suffer most are the kids, so they needed to be protected. We want them to be at home, we want them to see that this celebration is for them.”

That’s why, yearly, DAM holds the cultural event, which features live music and art performances, food trucks, hands-on arts and crafts, storytelling and book readings in English and Spanish.

“It’s important to celebrate children because they are the men and women of tomorrow. They need to know that they are important, that they matter, that their dances are important.”

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Dancer Aliana told CBS4’s Mekialaya White she certainly felt that way. She’s seven years old, and one of Fiesta Colorado’s youngest performers.

“We are going to dance and spread the cheer,” she said.

“I am very excited and think I’m going to do a great job,” she added with a smile and twirl of her dress.

Her father Frederico said she had been practicing for nearly a year to proudly show off dance steps he and his wife passed down from Mexico. “We have been working up to this day to this performance. It’s really beautiful it’s really kind of awe-inspiring.”

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Aliana aspires to continue the tradition. “Once I am all grown up, I am going to be a folklórico dancer,” she said.

To learn more about the celebration, click here:

Mekialaya White