First Year For Community Altar At Dia De Los Muertos

Nov 2, 2013

There may be skulls and graves, but this holiday isn’t like Halloween.

“I also remember not being afraid…people dressing in sugar skulls.”

Valerie Garcia sells headdresses, jewelry and hand painted coffins from her booth here.

Dia De Los Muertos is one of her favorite holidays.

“I really feel like it gives us a chance to bring our culture to light and let other people see how colorful and joyous it is for us.”

Today, she remembers her uncle.

“He loved to sing oldies and mariachi music…joyous and full of light.”

Organizer with the event’s sponsor, ‘Calavera Coalition’ Blanca Araujo, has been coming the last 17 years – since the beginning.

“We started out very small…with a pull wagon that was brought to the plaza by a group of ladies…kept going from there.”

Peggy King is an organizer here, too.

“It didn’t start out as a event for the public…people would say well, what are you going to do next year?”

This year, for the first time, the Calavera Coalition created a community alter for people who, for whatever reason, couldn’t make their own alter.

“It’s been a really nice experience…because I think everybody here is in that state of family and remembrance and friends.”

It’s a day to celebrate the dead, but Blanca is determined to keep breathing new life into it – by keeping the tradition alive.

“When I was a child, I used to go to Juarez with my family…here in the United States, I’m glad to see the tradition keep going.”