Photos: Dia de los Muertos in Eureka

With heavy rain in the forecast for Thursday, Nov. 2, most participants in the fifth annual Day of the Dead Festival of Altars/Día de los Muertos Festival de Altares came to Old Town prepared. Some brought pop-up tents to shelter their ofrendas, the offering placed in an altar commemorating their ancestors. A few others created their altars under the shelter of the gazebo roof and others just used their umbrellas to protect themselves and their altars from the rain.

But just before 5 p.m. the rain stopped and a large crowd gathered to watch a dance performance of “Baile de los Machetes” by the Eureka High School Danza Folklórico.

Event co-organizer Xochi Quetzalli greeted attendees as they passed through a temporary gate festooned with marigolds. The gazebo was circled by several Día de los Muertos altars honoring loved ones who have died. Creators of the altars filled them with food, photos of their loved ones, including pets, and items that were linked to their loved ones.

“This is our fifth year of Día de Muertos Festival of Altares or Day of the Dead, Festival of Altars,” said Quetzalli. “We began it in 2019 to help local people celebrate at this event and remember their ancestors, their dead.”

Day of the Dead is widely observed every Nov. 1 and 2 in Mexico, and elsewhere by people of Mexican heritage. The tradition reunites the dead with the living with a celebration, rather than with mourning and sad good-byes.

“I love seeing my son and other children playing around the altars on Dia de los Muertos,” said Maria Ramirez, another organizer of the event. Ramirez had prepared a large candle-lit altar displaying photos of her late grandmother and other persons important to her life and family.

Additional performances included musician Octavio Acosta and, as darkness gathered, more dancing by the Cal Poly Humboldt Danza Mexica club and the CPH Ballet Folklórico de Humboldt club.

Arts + Scene/A+E


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