San Dimas Celebrates Day of the Dead

Death does not have to be sad, many people celebrate death on this special day

November 5, 2020

On November 1st and 2nd people celebrate the Day of the Dead or Dia de Los Muertos by honoring and remembering the lives of the deceased. Day of the Dead is celebrated throughout Latin America specifically Mexico, but it is also celebrated by many people here in America. November 1st is called the Day of the Innocents, people celebrate specifically the deceased children, and on November 2nd the actual Day of the Dead all the deceased is celebrated.”That is what Dia de Los Muertos really is, it’s not like a funeral its a celebration- a party- there is always music, it’s colorful, paper mache, dance. Think of happiness, it is a celebration and remembering that person, and honoring that person in a happy way,” resident Sandra Tapia said. There are so many ways to celebrate this beautiful holiday but there is one thing they all have in common; it is meant to be a happy day, not a day of mourning the losses of loved ones, but actually, a day to rejoice.

Senior Nayeli Mendoza celebrates Day of the Dead with an ofrenda for lost loved ones. (PC: Nayeli Mendoza)

“We made big wreaths made out of homemade flowers made from tissue paper. In the middle, you could have christ, the person’s picture, just a cross, or sometimes it was a calavera,” Tapia said. People who celebrate this holiday might go to festivals where there are traditional decorations and entertainment like mariachi, Folklorico dance, paper mache, pinatas, skulls, and skeletons. Others might choose to visit a deceased family member at the cemetery and have a more private celebration by having a picnic with family remembering the happy moments they had together.

¬†Many people set up candlelit altars at home for a deceased family member or friend. They lay out the deceased favorite food, drinks, books, music, and other things that the deceased enjoyed. The belief is that the candlelit altar and marigolds a yellow/ orange flower attract souls and help to bring your family member back home.”One of my favorite memories is making an alter for my grandpa. I really liked it when my daughter started doing it when she was little, even though I wasn’t making it, but it was still our tradition because she was making it now and I would help her,” Tapia said.

When making these things you just think about the people that you are making them for and it’s kind of like keeping the memory alive,”

— Sandra Tapia

This year many popular festivals are being canceled due to Covid-19. This does not mean the celebration is over; there are still live events we can attend with the restriction of social distancing and wearing face coverings. “Every year we would go to festivals and my daughter would paint half of her face like a calavera and she would dance Folklorico with her dance team,” Tapia said.¬† Besides the live events, there are also quite a few virtual events. These virtual events vary from live streaming the Forest Lawn Dia de Los Muertos celebration to an art contest being hosted by the Pasadena Tournament of Roses.

November 1st and 2nd are the days of the actual holiday, but it is never too late to begin to commemorate your ancestors. If you missed the holiday this year try setting aside a day to go visit a deceased family member at the cemetery. It is better late than never.


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