Each year The Family Center/La Familia proudly displays ofrenda, or offerings in English, on a beautifully decorated altar to celebrate Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. This Mexican holiday is particularly special for the unique fact that it celebrates death and life together. 

girl with sugar skill mask

During this two day event, families create beautiful ofrendas to honor and commemorate their departed family members. The altars display photos and artifacts that represent these loved ones. The offerings are a call for the souls of these departed to come visit the living from the land of the dead and join the celebration! 

On most altars there are also two symbols that you will almost always see in addition to the memorabilia unique to each loved one. 

  • Calaveras, or sugar skulls. Often drawn with a smile–to laugh at death, these decorative skulls can be made from sugar, clay and worn as face paint. 
  • Flor de Muerto, or Flower of Dead, is the offering of marigolds–believed to guide spirits on the path to the ofrendas. These flowers are native to Mexico and Central America and symbolize the beauty and fragility of life. 

Some other common symbols include La Catrina, papel picado, candles, oil cloths, and of course lots of food and festivies. If you don’t know them by name you may recognize their pictures: 

  • La Catrina is a skeletal lady that brings elegance and aristocracy to the celebration. 
  • Papel picado are a set of colorful flags made of thin paper that usually have an image or series of images associated with the holiday. 

Want to learn more about Día de los Muertos? Check out these 10 Traditions that make up Day of the Dead or consider trying your hand at one of the popular foods during the holiday. Then check out these local events to celebrate: 

  1. Día de los Muertos: NoCo Tour (Self Guided)
    • Where? Northern Colorado (Fort Collins, Loveland, Greeley, Sterling, Longmont) Creative Districts 
    • When? Oct. 15-Nov. 22 (end dates may vary by locations
    • Cost? FREE (some locations may require reservations)
  2. Día de los Muertos gallery exhibition
    • Where? Global Village Museum of Arts & Cultures
    • When? Oct. 7-Nov. 19
    • Cost? Free-$5 (pricing varies)
  3. Día de los Muertos Festival
    • Where? Denver Botanic Gardens
    • When? Saturday, Nov. 5 (9am-3pm)
    • Cost? $15 adults, $10 members, Under 15 FREE
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