Día de Los Muertos honors Latin American tradition

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In a few days, Mexico will be filled with delicious food, beautiful flowers, layer upon layer of vibrant colors, and national celebration. On November first and second, Mexico will be celebrating Día de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, a Mexican holiday that celebrates loved ones who have passed away and honors the lives they have lived. This year, for the first time, Latinos Unidos will be celebrating Día de Los Muertos at SPA. Senior Isabel Saavedra-Weis, president of Latinos Unidos, will be leading this celebration at SPA.

“We are going to be making our own ofrenda, or altar, in the library and we’re going to be putting our own photos of our own loved ones up on there,” Saavedra-Weis said.

In Mexico, the celebration of Día de Los Muertos is a big deal.

“In Mexico, it’s celebrated a lot of different ways and it’s definitely been incorporated in religious life too since Mexico is a very Catholic country. Some people build altars called ofrendas which directly translates to the word ‘offering’ in their homes and there they will build their own altars to their families and to the loved ones that they have lost. Some people will go to the cemeteries and bring all of their food and their flowers and their offerings and build it on loved ones’ tombstones,” Saavedra-Weis said.

There are two parts to this holiday.

It’s kind of a personal thing. Only the group will be participating and putting photos up, but we want to open it and make it visible to the whole community because I think it’s a really beautiful tradition.”

— Isabel Saavedra-Weis

“November first is Día de Los Angelitos, which means ‘day of the little angles’ and that honors children who have passed too young. The day after… that is just the general Día de Los Muertos for anybody,” Saavedra-Weis said.

The ofrenda at SPA will only be for the members of Latinos Unidos but will be open for the public to observe.

“It’s kind of a personal thing,” Saavedra-Weis said, “Only the group will be participating and putting photos up, but we want to open it and make it visible to the whole community because I think it’s a really beautiful tradition.”

Bringing this celebration to SPA is important to Saavedra-Weis.

“There’s not a lot of visibility about Día de Los Muertos… I think it’s really misunderstood. Some people think of it as the way that we’re, I don’t know, worshipping the dead in a weird kind of dark way, when in reality …It’s a festival that’s bright and vibrant and full of celebrating… the lives that [loved ones] lived before they passed,” Saavedra-Weis said.

The ofrenda will be up in the Library October 30 and the days following.

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