Los Angeles, Calif., Oct 30, 2019 / 03:00 am
Dia de los Muertos, or “Day of the Dead,” is a primarily Mexican way of celebrating the feasts of All Souls Day and All Saints Day.
The celebration is an expression of Latin American culture and Catholic beliefs, which makes use of some familiar symbols to teach and celebrate the Church’s teaching on the communion of the saints and the souls in purgatory.
Annual celebrations typically involve skeletal costumes and face makeup, parades and processions, as well as traditional foods such as “pan de muerte” (bread of the dead) and sugar skulls (calaveras).
Los Angeles Auxilary Bishop Alex Aclan, a native of the Philippines, celebrated a Mass in honor of Dia de los Muertos Oct. 26 at Santa Clara Cemetery in Oxnard, California.
The Mass featured pilgrim images of Our Lady of Guadalupe and San Juan Diego, as well as over “ofrendas,” or altars, which are traditionally used in Dia de los Muertos celebrations to honor deceased loved ones.
Aclan told CNA the celebrations at the cemetery were very typical Mexican style, he said, with the altars set out with pictures and personal items for the faithful to remember and honor loved ones.
There were more than 100 ofrendas set up throughout the cemetery, and participants took part in dancing, processions and prayers for the dead.
Dia de los Muertos is sometimes popularly thought of as “Mexican Halloween,” and the ofrendas may be seen as a means for people to conjure up their deceased loved ones.