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El Dia de los Muertos, remembering lost loved ones

El Dia de los Muertos is a Mexican tradition celebrated to honor the life and death of loved ones that have died.

SAN ANGELO, Texas — El Dia de los Muertos is a two-day celebration of life and death, most commonly observed in Mexico and those of Mexican heritage around the world. 

The first day of Dia de los Muertos is Nov. 1 All Saints Day. Nov. 2 is All Souls Day. Families come together to honor their loved ones that have died by creating ofrendas with flowers, food and decorations the dead enjoyed in life. 

Día de los Angelitos begins at midnight Nov.1 and it is said the spirits of children that have died visit their families for 24 hours. On Nov. 2, at midnight, the spirits of adults visit the altars family members have made for them. At noon, families gather and eat pan de muerto, paint sugar skulls, play music and celebrate the life of their lost loved one. 

“Whenever we celebrate el Día de los Muertos we are honoring our loved ones that have passed by remembering the foods that they loved, what they liked to drink and just special memories that we have of them. It’s a really beautiful time to celebrate them,” San Angelo Hispanic Heritage Museum Vice President, Suzanna Valenzuela, said, 

Flor de cempasúchil is also known as the flor de los muertos. During the two-day celebration, families in Mexico visit cemeteries, leaving candles and flor de cempasúchil in their loved ones' tombstones. In many customs, families leave a trail of flor de cempasúchil pedals, creating a pathway to guide spirits to their ofrendas. 

“Traditionally, the bright orange yellow color is used on the day of the dead so that rather than being sad and mourning death and the loss of loved ones, we were celebrating their fun and vibrant life. They have a pretty distinct scent and it’s supposed to attract souls to the altars,” Bouquets Unique Florist owner, Becky Pena, said. 

Dia de los Muertos customs have been passed on for many decades and many traditions still used today are from ancient indigenous people in Mexico.

Several events in honor of El Dia de los Muertos will be held over the weekend in San Angelo.

Dia de los Muertos events: 

6:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29 - Dia de los Muertos, San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts, 1 Love St.

1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30 - Dia de los Muertos Car Show, Bart DeWitt Park, 330 S. Irving St.

6 p.m.- 10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30- Third annual Dia de los Muertos Block Party, Reyna's Tacos, 226 S. Abe St.

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