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Day of the Dead recognized

Modified: Friday, Nov 2nd, 2012

As part of a family tradition for Day of the Dead, Idalia Villanueva of Watsonville painted her face like a skeleton. (Photo by Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian).

WATSONVILLE — Hundreds of local families are visiting area cemeteries over the past few days to honor past loved ones as part of the annual Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead.

About four dozen groups convened at gravesites Thursday at Valley Catholic Cemetery on East Lake Avenue, many toting armloads of marigolds, a traditional flower for the event.

“Today we are just getting ready for Friday, the actual day,” Marisol Guerrero said Friday. “We’re setting out flowers and making the grave look real nice. This is our family tradition to honor my niece, Natalie Guerrero, who died at age 12. We brought her favorite food and a radio and marigolds. For us, this is our way to remember and to celebrate our loved one.”

Though Day of the Dead is celebrated in many cultures around the globe, it is particularly recognized throughout Mexico and by Mexican-Americans. The celebration concentrates on Nov. 1 and 2 in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. Rituals include constructing elaborate colorful altars that feature photographs and memorabilia of those deceased. Families typically enjoy food, beverages, and music the deceased relished in life. The intent is to encourage visits by the souls, in hopes that those souls will hear the prayers and comments of the living directed to them. Celebrations can also take a humorous tone, as celebrants remember funny events and anecdotes about the departed. Mexico in particular boasts a wide range of folk art including tin, paper mache and clay figurines — often brightly painted — of comical musicians, brides, or sunbathers, often as skeletons, in poses of celebration.

For the complete article see the 11-03-2012 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 11-03-2012 paper.

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