This article was written by BenitoLink intern Juliana Luna
Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is celebrated throughout Latin America on Nov. 1-2. A celebration of life and death, the holiday acknowledges loved ones who have passed away. During this time, it is believed that spirits of the dead return to visit the living realm. In Mexico, it is traditional to display a home altar with food and other offerings for the dead to come back and enjoy.
The Youth Council of the San Benito County League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) has continued to practice their home traditions in Hollister.
LULAC was offered a spot at the Artesanias Alcala to set up their first annual Dia De Los Muertos community altar. The store is located at 55-C San Benito St.
Artesenias Alcala and LULAC had been supporting each other in recent months. LULAC Youth Council purchased printed masks from the store for their annual retreat fundraiser to the United Farm Workers headquarters in Keene.
Though this is the first time LULAC is hosting an altar, the organization is active in the community. “We help out Hollister Recreation with their events,” said Valeria Juarez, LULAC Youth Council secretary.
Artesenias Alcala owners Rafael and Ana Cadena are Hollister residents. Both of them were born in Mexico and Ana said they opened their store to “bring culture to the United States.” Their store specializes in handmade shoes, clothing and accessories.
“All the colors are vibrant and bring memories,” Ana said. “[The colors] bring Mexico in.”
The community is invited to participate in the altar by supplying a photograph or an item to honor the memory of a loved one. The LULAC Youth Community Ofrenda is on display until Nov. 3 from 12-4 p.m.
Diana Lopez, LULAC Youth Council president, said she’s proud of her Mexican heritage and “everyone should be proud of it.”
She said the altar they are creating will help people embrace their culture. Lopez contributed pictures of her relatives to remember them and said “everybody is encouraged to come to visit the altar.”
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