By RAMONA SALGADO, Ranger Reporter
When I was a child, my great aunt would tell me stories of a grand celebration that takes place in November. She remembered helping her mother and other family members prepare food and drinks, and she recalled taking them to their church. There, altars were prepared for the return of the dead to earth, so the dead could enjoy their favorite things and be with their loved ones. My great aunt would rather run home and hide under her blankets because she did not want to see the dead.
In the Hispanic culture, this day has been celebrated for centuries. Dia de Los Muertos has become more commonly known and celebrated in the U.S. as more Latino families have come to this country, sharing their culture and traditions.
Dia de Los Muertos is actually a 3,000-year-old ritual that stems from a mix of Aztec and Catholic influences, as well as the Spanish tradition of All Saints and All Souls Day. This celebration lasts two days and starts November 1 (Dia De Los Inocentes), when the gates of heaven open and the spirits of infants and children are allowed to visit their parents for one day.
On November 2, all souls of adults return to earth to be with their families once more. Families decorate altars with sugar skulls, flowers and candles. The more elaborate the altar, the happier the soul is. Happy souls are said to bring wisdom, luck and protection to their family on earth.
Amarillo and Canyon have joined the celebration in the past few years. West Texas A&M University has held events on campus, as well as at the Panhandle Plains Museum. Del Maldonado, a former AC student, also holds an annual Dia de Los Muertos group art event at her studio, located at 2510 South Arthur. The show features art, altars, music and food celebrating the Day of the Dead.
Artwork from Del Maldonado’s event this year are featured below.