By Génesis Miranda Miramontes
La Habra Journal
October has come to an end and November begins, which means Dia de Los Muertos is approaching.
Dia de Los Muertos is a holiday observed in the Hispanic community on November 2 where families come together to remember the life and honor the memory of their loved ones who have died. The day is filled with altars, music, food and prayer.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Church was filled with bright colors, music and the smell of food for their annual Dia de Los Muertos event last Saturday night.
Northgate Market was present selling “pan de muerto,” a popular style of bread eaten on this holiday.
From the front of the church extending towards the parking lot, families gathered around the altars they had built in memory of their loved ones.
Many guests had gathered inside the church for mass while others sat outside and enjoyed the music and food.
Pastor Edward Becker was walking around the church grounds greeting guests and friends.
“We’ve had a steady stream of people since 3p.m. and lots of families coming to look at the altars,” said Becker. “I’m very happy with the turnout and happy we’ve had such a nice enjoyable day.”
Families sat by their altars while visitors stopped by to admire the colorful decorations and photos of deceased loved ones.
“The altars have to be considered the favorite part for everybody,” said Becker. “There’s a certain degree of fun associated with putting up the altars and also a sense of reverence and remembrance.”
Pastor Becker says that Dia de Los Muertos plays an important role in prayer. That is because families not only set up altars in memory of loved ones but they usually gather to pray as well.
“This is one of the many ways Catholics pray for their loved ones. It takes on a whole significance,” said Becker.
Dia de Los Muertos is not all about death, it is a way to celebrate the life of those who were once part of our lives and how we honor their memory.
“In so many cultures children are kept away from death but in Mexican culture children are included in the celebration,” said Becker.
Scott Miller, business manager at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church assisted in coordinating the event, along with the help of the Hispanic Committee.
Miller explained that this year’s event included the new addition of two classic cars, which belonged to family members who had passed. This was a change from the usual altars displayed on Dia de Los Muertos.
Miller said his favorite part of the event is “just seeing the community come together.” He hopes that during next year’s event “we have more altars to educate, so that people understand more.”
The Hispanic Committee assisted in the organization and setup of the event. “The central theme is uniting the community,” said committee member Gregorio Morales. “The most important thing for me is to remember our loved ones.”