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San Antonians celebrate Dia de los Muertos

Families share stories, traditions of celebrating loved ones

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SAN ANTONIO – For many cultures, death is a solemn subject, but for many Mexican and Hispanic families around the world, the loss of a loved one becomes a celebration of life.  

Many people in San Antonio are celebrating Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead this weekend. The annual holiday lasts from Oct. 31- Nov. 2.

The flowers, the decorated skulls and the bright colors are all a tribute and a true celebration.

"It's for my brother," Jesus Rivas said. "He passed away seven years ago from sarcoma. It's a type of cancer."

Usually Rivas builds an altar, or ofrenda, at his brother George's graveside; but this year, he wanted the community to celebrate his brother with him at La Villita.

That's where we found Jesus de la Torre.

"It's important to me because it's important to my family," de la Torre said. "My parents passed away about 15 years ago and that's when I started celebrating Dia de los Muertos. It was a very sad moment, also a very trying moment."

So in honor of his parents, he builds his own beautiful ofrendas and teaches others how to do it too.

On ofrendas, you'll often see pictures of people's loved ones, memories of who they were when they were alive and even some of their favorite foods.

The holiday's symbolic flower? A carnation, which is a symbol of the sun.

"My kids and I will take the petals and sprinkle them from the cemetery all the way back to the ofrenda then they'll have a way to follow us," de la Torre said, knowing all the while that his loved ones are living on through him.

"We celebrate the memory of someone who we still know is with us, I guess just in a different light," Rivas said.

That light shines happiness on the past, and appreciation for the future.

The Dia de los Muertos Festival at La Villita continues until 11 p.m. Saturday. There are families there with their ofrendas, vendors selling themed items, lots of food, and fun music.


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