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Photo credit: Everyday Health Photo of Hernandez (dressed in all black) at The Watcha! Film Series in honor of Women’s History Month.

Día de los Muertos celebrate those who have passed aw

SAN ANTONIO—One day out of the year is when our departed return to celebrate with us.

Día de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a two-day holiday that begins on Nov. 1 and ends on Nov. 2, where families welcome back the souls of their deceased relatives for a brief reunion.

“For us, it [serves as] a way to honor all those around us and celebrating the lives we are living now,” said Samantha Jimenez, a psychology student at Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU).

The tradition originated in Mexico, but it is celebrated throughout Latin America. It all began several thousand years ago with the Aztec, Toltec and other Nahua people, who considered mourning the dead impolite.

One of the centerpieces of this celebration is the ofrenda, an altar built in homes and cemeteries. These are meant to welcome the spirits back to the realm of the living.

Some of the things included in the altar are water, food, family photos, candles and small toys for children. Marigolds are the flowers used to decorate the altar and scattered petals to guide them back to the altar and their place of rest.

Another common thing found in the alters are Calaveras, skulls, calacas and skeletons. People also paint their face into a skull.

The face painting represents the joy and happy memories you remember when you think of a loved one.
Two common foods for this day are pan de Muerto, the bread of the dead, which is sweet bread with anise seeds, and sugar skulls.

“For day of the dead, my family makes a huge diner for us to eat,” Jimenez said. “Of course, we make an altar, but we focus it on the people who have passed away that year.”

San Antonio Day of the Dead River Parade will be in-person on Friday, Oct. 29.

OLLU traditionally hosts an annual event to celebrate the holiday.

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