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Mexican holiday grows in Colorado popularity; a remembrance for loved ones

By John Basche

For many of us, pumpkins on the stoop and falling leaves mark our transition to our holiday season preparations. However, for many Coloradans the start of November marks an opportunity to pause and reflect on loved ones lost. Officially November 1 and 2, Day of the Dead or “Día de Muertos” is a Mexican holiday that is celebrated around the world and particularly growing in popularity in Colorado and throughout the southwest. Based on the belief that life should not be mourned or grieved, Day of the Dead celebrations bring family and friends together to honor and pray for lost loved ones to help them on their spiritual journey. While numerous traditions can make up this remembrance celebration, families often gather to create colorful altars to the departed that can include favorite foods and toys for the deceased, rich symbolic folk art, as well as parades.

This year on the Front Range, educational Day of the Dead gatherings took place throughout, providing a chance for many across cultural boundaries to learn and experience this tradition. With more than 6,000 attendees, Longmont’s Day of the Dead festivities marked the largest gathering in the state. For those who might be interested in experiencing this cultural phenomena first hand, it is not too late. The Denver Botanic Gardens will be hosting its Dia de los Muertos festival on Saturday, November 4 from noon until 8 p.m. With a full slate of family-oriented activities, including face painting, costumes and family crafts, this event is a great local way to get out and experience and learn about Day of the Dead traditions.

Even Walt Disney Pictures is capturing the Day of the Dead concept with its upcoming movie “Coco,” which is based on the holiday. The film is scheduled to release November 22.

Though traditionally scheduled to run in parallel with other remembrance events like All Saints’ Eve and All Souls Day, this Mexican holiday is quickly becoming a more popular celebration and is a cross-over mainstream event that reminds us of the importance to pause and reflect on our dear family and friends who still hold importance in our hearts.



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