Dia de los Muertos a time to honor dead loved ones

1 year 10 months 3 weeks ago Monday, November 01 2021 Nov 1, 2021 November 01, 2021 9:45 AM November 01, 2021 in News - Local

Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, begins Monday and continues through Tuesday.

Rene Ballesteros, a community engagement officer at the Museum of South Texas History, says the Dia de los Muertos that we see today is actually a combination of traditions.

"In Mexico, it originated even pre-Hispanic, so pre-colonial traditions became kind of mixed with Spanish traditions," Ballesteros said.

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It begins with All Saints Day on Nov. 1, which is believed to be when the souls of children who have passed return to Earth. The next day is Dia de los Muertos, and that's when they believe everyone else's spirit comes back.

"Going to service, going to pantiones or cemeteries, cleaning them up, decorating them, and even making altars at home," Ballesteros said of the traditions celebrated.

The altars are typically filled with marigolds, a flower native to Mexico.

"It's the color, the smell that's meant to attract the souls to come back to the home," Ballesteros said.

Altars will often have an arch lined with marigold flowers. This is seen as a portal for souls to come back through. You'll also see photos, water, favorite foods, and personal items. These are offerings.

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"Oftentimes, especially in altars we're going to see a lot of these ofrendas or offerings," Ballesteros said. "They're familiar things for the souls to come back to."

In the end, it's way to remember loved ones with joy.

"In a way, when the family does this, they really revisit the stories and the memories of that person and sometimes it's with items, sometimes it's with food,” Ballesteros said.

The Museum of South Texas History in Edinburg will have their Dia de los Muertos exhibit open until Sunday, Nov. 7. from 1 to 5 p.m.

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