DENVER (KDVR) — This weekend many members of the Latino community will celebrate what is called “Dia de los Muertos” which means Day of the Dead.
One of the the Latino Cultural Arts Center goals, is to help people understand more about the tradition celebrated by so many people in Colorado.
Talking about death is hardly ever an easy topic especially when your child is just 8 years old.
But that’s the conversation Joyce Sanchez is having with her son Cruz, in preparation for Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead.
“Dia de los Muertos is really a celebration of life. We want to acknowledge the life, the celebration. It’s a time to honor lost family members through music and food and dance. It’s a party, a celebration of someone’s life,” Sanchez said.
The lesson comes to life, by building an altar in her home in Northglenn.
The display of skull bones and colorful marigold flowers is an age-old tradition shared by mostly Latino families.
Little Cruz helped pick the pieces for the one in his home.
“I really like the skulls, they are my favorite part of it,” he said.
There is pan dulce, Mexican sweet bread.
An old wrinkled brown tie.
They are things that remind the family of grandma, grandpa, uncles and cousins who have passed on.
“Its been kind of fun but also so sad to know they been gone but still happy because we know they are still with us,” Cruz said.
On Dia de los Muertos, the belief is those long gone, come back for a day.
“We put the food there so there would be nourishment as our ancestors come back to visit us. We have the incense so we can have the smell and the aroma and have the spirits back and welcome them into our home,” Sanchez said.
While some may consider discussing death a grump topic, Sanchez describes it as an important life lesson.
“I would really want for him to take this tradition and to remember that sadness is ever present. There’s also the bright celebration that comes with death. With our pain we can still find beauty,” she said.
It’s a tough lesson Cruz says he wants to learn, “so I can celebrate my parents when they pass and my kids can celebrate me when I pass.”
Cruz is wise beyond his years.
At the Sanchez home, mother and son carrying on a tradition at an altar.
A place where loved ones are never forgotten.
The Latino Cultural Arts Center has prepared altar starter kits for sale.
They also have a number of events taking place this weekend, including the building of giant altar in Aurora.
Dia de los Muertos is Sunday.
More information on the altars, Day of the Dead and this weekend’s event can be found on the Latino Culture Art Center website.