11/25/2011

"Día de Los Muertos" 2011 at La Luz Center

Day of the Dead 036

From November 4th through the 6th, La Luz Center hosted a traditional Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) observance in Booker Hall. Over 250 visitors were greeted by a visual display of marigolds and symbols associated with this very important holiday in the Mexican community and of course 11 personally constructed altars to remember loved ones who have died.

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The participants were Maritza Barajas, Alicia Barragan, Ana Byerly, Eva Diaz and family, Rose Enriquez and family, Emma Gutierrez with lideres campesinas, Alicia Pizano, Felipa Puente and Julian Puente, Adalinda Sandoval and family, Patricia Thomas and Paco Villasenor.  This group with the addition of Olga and Jorge Arguellas formed the committee who put on the three day event.  Each built an altar to remember one or many deceased loved ones.  The altars contained objects and foods that the deceased had been fond of - from favorite candies to enchiladas to the occasional bottle of beer or wine.  Photos and personal mementos were also included as well as the traditional Dia de los Muertos symbols, the skulls made of sugar (called calaveras) that are seen everywhere in latino communities this time of year.  The altar builders were on hand to share stories about their loved ones with the visitors.  Many of the people who came remarked on the profound sense of solemnity and peace that was created for this very special occasion.

At the end of the observance on Sunday evening all of those who had built altars and their families gathered together for a private dinner to celebrate the lives of their deceased and the memories they had left behind.  Prominent in the meal was the traditional Pan de Muerto - a sweet bread made only at this time of the year - as well as tomales, frijoes, guacamole, ensalada de pollo and hot chocolate. 

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