The Main Stream

Nov 1, 2012 11:00 PM by John Patrick

Dia de los Muertos kicks off today

TUCSON - November 1 marks the official start of Dia de los Muertos, a Hispanic holiday that is celebrated to reconnect with the loved ones who have gone before us.

Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a three day celebration that honors the ones we've lost. November 1 honors infants and children while November 2 celebrates adults. All across Southern Arizona families were coming together in remembrance.

Judith Pereda was one of many family members gathered at South Lawn Cemetery today to remember her loved ones that passed away. Pereda says, "It has a lot of meaning to us. It's just a moment of spending it with the family and reminiscing and crying and laughing and just a lot of mixed emotions."

Friends and family will gather in homes and cemeteries alike building altars that represent their fallen family members. The altars contain everything from the person's favorite food, toys to even their favorite liquor.

Kathryn Ortiz, the director of the Dia de los Muertos festivities at the University of Arizona Bookstore, says the purpose of the celebration is to invite the souls of the dead back to earth for one day. Ortiz explains the altars role in the celebration, "Mexican people would clean their homes and then set up altars to attract the souls. They would burn incense and candles as a way for the souls to travel back to earth."

Pereda explains the importance of the holiday to her family saying, "It's important to let our loved ones know we haven't forgotten about them and just for all of us to show support for each other."

Dia de los Muertos celebrations will be occurring across Tucson through this weekend. South Lawn Cemetery will be holding a special rosary ceremony On Friday November, 2 while judging a contest for best decorated altar. For more information on that visit their website here. Also happening this weekend is the 23rd annual All Souls Procession with events happening from November 2-4. For a schedule of events visit their website here.

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