Celebrating loved ones during Dia de Los Muertos

By Maria Magana-Navarro

Journal intern

A candlelit ofrenda, marigold flowers, culture, celebration, skeletons, and homage to the dead are all words that describe the Day of the Dead, or Dia de Los Muertos. Dia de Los Muertos is a cultural holiday in Mexico where the living and the dead reunite for a two-day celebration. Families and loved ones honor the dead by making ofrendas (offerings) to their deceased. While Dia de Los Muertos is typically celebrated in Mexico, the tradition spreads wide and far across the globe, making it to the dainty little island of Friday Harbor.

Mark those calendars and prepare to paint faces as a Dia de Los Muertos event is scheduled at the Mullis Community Senior Center starting Nov. 1 and 2. While the event is an exciting holiday celebration, there are some things to remember before participating.

Following tradition, the first day is called “Dia de todos las Santos” (Day of All Saints), from 4-7 p.m. Nov. 1. It is dedicated to those who passed away without being married, young adolescents, and children. According to tradition, the first day marks the day when all deceased children are believed to be reunited with their families for 24 hours. An ofrenda will be made where families and loved ones can bring photographs of their deceased and offerings. For children, families typically bring their favorite candies, snacks, and toys. For the first day, it is encouraged to come painted as a catrina (skeleton) to honor our loved ones. The day will follow up with a small catrina parade and savory appetizers such as pan and atole.

The second day is “Dia de los fieles difuntos,” meaning “All Souls Day.” The second day is dedicated to all the deceased, notably elders, and adults. Like the children, families offer their loved ones favorite foods and beverages on the ofrenda. Children’s activities for the second day include sugar skull paintings and a surprise dance.

Come and celebrate with the Latinx community by coming to the Día De Los Muertos event. A big goal for the event according to Adrianna Gonzales, a coordinator is to encourage youth to attend and enjoy the event as well as spreading the tradition to those of different ages and backgrounds. Enjoy a cup of atole and a slice of bread while celebrating loved ones.

For more information call the Joyce L. Sobel Family Resource Center at 360-378-5246.