A vibrant cultural tradition comes to life in the Yakima Valley this month. Explore special ways to experience the traditions and significance of Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead.
The Day of the Dead is all About Remembrance and Life
Unlike Halloween, which is a dark and spooky night of frights and mischief, Día de los Muertos celebrates the beauty of life in an explosion of color, love and remembrance. It originated thousands of years ago in Central America and has roots in both indigenous and Catholic traditions. At the center of the celebration is the importance of honoring and remembering the lives of loved ones who have passed, as opposed to mourning. Altars of remembrance, or ofrendas, are important components of the celebration. These three-tier altars represent birth, life and after life and are made to commemorate loved ones and welcome them back to the land of the living between October 31 and November 2.
The altars are filled with offerings that represent the life of the loved one and welcome them back from eternal sleep for one night, as well as traditional components such as fire (candles) and wind (colorful paper decorations). Other familiar symbols of Día de los Muertos are bright marigolds, beautifully made of paper, and calacas and calaveras (skeletons and skulls), brightly attired and decorated. Sugar skulls are a common festive component.
Traditionally, Día de los Muertos is marked by festivities, costumes, music, food and dance. Here in the Valley, we have two beautiful displays where we can experience the celebration of life, remembrance, and learn about the rich traditions.
Don’t miss the Día de los Muertos Community Celebration and Community Altar at Mighty Tieton. Each year, Tieton Arts & Humanities hosts a celebration and creates a large community altar for everyone to contribute memories to. This year, as always, they’ve created a wonderful experience to celebrate the beauty of life and remember those who are no longer with us. Acclaimed Oaxacan artist, Fulgencio Lazo, has once again created a stunning and beautiful tapete, or sand painting at Mighty Tieton. This year, the tapete gives honor to those lost to COVID 19.
As always, the exhibit includes a large memorial altar, or ofrenda celebrating those who have passed. While COVID restrictions are in place, you can still visit and view the gallery-style experience now through November 22. The Community Altar and gallery is open for public viewing during gallery hours. The exhibition features the sandpainting by Lazo, exhibits about the sacred traditions, contemporary and traditional altars, sugar skull displays, paper marigolds, and papel picado. Visitors can bring photos of loved ones to make the altar a community celebration.
Visit their website and social channels to learn how you can experience the celebration of life.