Día de los Muertos at Vía Esperanza

On the evening of Wednesday, November 1, Vía Esperanza Centro de Educación hosted the community for their version of a traditional Latin American celebration, Día de los Muertos – the Day of the Dead.

Joined by families served at the family education and resource center and Lawrence Cook Middle School, the celebration included a brief history of Día de los Muertos, a traditional altar show & tell, food & drink (including pan de muerto), pumpkin decorating, and more!

“We chose to organize this event in less than a week because we recognized a need for our community to gather and celebrate life in contrast to all the loss that we have suffered recently,” said Vía Esperanza Program Manager Michael P. Varela. “With Cook Middle School, our host site, reopening just before Día de los Muertos, we thought that this would be an opportune moment to welcome our families back and enjoy the vibrant art, music, food, and overall culture exhibited in this celebration.”

The holiday is traditionally spread over two days. November 1 is Día de los Inocentes, honoring children who have died. On this day, graves are decorated with white orchids and baby’s breath. November 2 is Día de los Muertos, honoring adults, whose graves are decorated with bright orange marigolds

Día de los Muertos is celebrated throughout Latin America, including South America and the Caribbean. In the United States and Canada, the tradition exists only in areas with a large Latin American population, such as Los Angeles or Vancouver. Although marked throughout Latin America, Día de los Muertos is most strongly associated with México, where the tradition originated.

This enriching community gathering was made possible thanks to the sponsorship of Santa Rosa City Schools, the Santa Rosa Police Department, Sonoma County Regional Parks, Monica Hurtado & Miriam Orellana, and our colleagues in the Health & Wellness Department of Community Action Partnership of Sonoma County.

Keep an eye on Vía Esperanza’s Facebook page for more photos from the event!