Día de los Muertos celebrated in SoCal to honor loved ones no longer with us

GLENDALE, Calif. (KABC) -- Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a traditional Mexican cultural holiday celebrated every Nov. 1 and 2.

"Día de los Muertos is a way to honor and remember the people that have died, come to terms with your own mortality and celebrate life," Consuelo Flores said.

In collaboration with Self Help Graphics, Flores created a beautiful Day of the Dead community altar for ABC7 decorated with photos of loved ones, marigold flowers and special items such as Pan de Muerto, which is traditional Día de los Muertos bread.

The centuries-old holiday is filled with rich symbolism. Altars are covered with traditional gifts, food and meaningful items of their loved ones. Those that are no longer with us are remembered through prayer, storytelling and music.

One key element to every altar are marigolds, or "flowers of the dead," which are flowers with a strong scent. Many believe they attract the deceased and the scent leads them back home.

According to Mexican folklore, the shredded petals left on the floor create a trail providing guidance to those who are no longer with us.

Flores shared three common misconceptions about the holiday:

First, some believe it is Halloween - which it is not.

Second, that the holiday is meant to be scary in nature - which it is not.

And last, that Day of the Dead is associated with satanism or the devil - which it is not.

Día de los Muertos is a joyous tradition which often includes food, laughter and music.

"It is all about family...it is about making sure that we have in present always their memory and we can retell stories about them," Flores said.

Families gather around decorated gravesides to honor the dead for both days.

Anabel Muñoz' sugar-skull face painting was done by Gabby Claro.

Skeleton or calavera face painting is inspired by La Catrina, a female skeleton, who was originally depicted as an elegant well-dressed woman by illustrator Jose Guadalupe Posada, circa 1910.

Today, she's the most popular Day of the Dead icon, known as Mexico's grand dame of death. Catrina's image is seen worldwide in figurines, paintings, crafts and skull face paintings.

ABC7 is a sponsor of Self Help Graphic's 46th annual day of the Dead celebration on Saturday.

For more information: www.selfhelpgraphics.com
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