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Celebrating Dia de Los Muertos in Bakersfield

Dia de Los Muertos, Bakersfield
Dia de Los Muertos, Bakersfield
Dia de Los Muertos, Bakersfield
Dia de Los Muertos, Bakersfield
Dia de Los Muertos, Bakersfield
Dia de Los Muertos, Bakersfield
Dia de Los Muertos, Bakersfield
Posted at 7:25 PM, Nov 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-03 01:50:05-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Dia de Los Muertos or the Day of the Dead is an annual Mexican tradition to honor those who have passed on. It is celebrated on November 1st - Dia de Los Santos for the children - and November 2nd - Dia de Los Muertos for everyone.

During Dia de Los Muertos individuals come and create altars where they put up photos and leave things and foods their loved ones enjoy.

What is Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead)?

The Day of the Dead (el Día de los Muertos), is a Mexican holiday where families welcome back the souls of their deceased relatives for a brief reunion that includes food, drink and celebration. A blend of Mesoamerican ritual, European religion and Spanish culture, the holiday is celebrated each year from October 31-November 2. While October 31 is Halloween, November 1 is “el Dia de los Inocentes,” or the day of the children, and All Saints Day. November 2 is All Souls Day or the Day of the Dead. According to tradition, the gates of heaven are opened at midnight on October 31 and the spirits of children can rejoin their families for 24 hours. The spirits of adults can do the same on November 2.

“Today is a special day because it's a traditional event, it's part of our culture. It's a day to remember and a day in Mexico they say the spirits come back,” explained Clarita Portillo, president of Butterfly with a Purpose.

Portillo creates altars every year with her colleagues.

“Part of our altar we’re bringing all the pictures of all the butterflies. We are a group of women that work with the community. All of us have somebody that maybe is not here but is in Mexico or another country. So we bring those pictures of our family members that passed away.”

Portillo says this is not a day to get confused with Halloween. It has nothing to do with fear or witches.

This year there were mariachis, folklorico dancers, food, and vendor after vendors all there to celebrate the Day of the Dead.

One altar was filled with several family members but had a station for those visiting to fill out a note to a loved one and place it on a mini tree.

Martha Hidalgo said this day means a lot to her because she gets to be with her family, even the ones who are no longer with us.

“Peoples' loved ones can come alive and you know spend time with them so they can have memories and just be with them.”

Portillo said the day is not only for those in the Latinx community.

“I think learn from every culture. It's very rich for us. It makes us feel better. More united. So I invite them to come and learn about it."

The altars extended across the entire Historic Union Cemetery. Officials at the cemetery said they invited everyone to participate in the event and are eager to see more people come each year.