El Dia De Los Muertos in Cache Valley

Latino Advocate Lizette Villegas and White Pines Funeral Director Mark Thurston stand next to the Dia De Los Muertos ofrenda at White Pine Funeral Home.

In celebration of Dia de los Muertos, local nonprofit El Corazon de Gloria invites the Cache Valley community to visit and participate in Las Ofrendas de Cache Valley to celebrate the lives of the love ones that have passed on at multiple ofrendas (offerings) that have been set up across the Valley.

Latino Advocate Lizette Villegas said the event is not only a celebration of the lives of the loved ones that have passed on but a learning experience for the community to participate and embrace the Latin Culture.

“We definitely need to get more visibility in the community for ofrendas to have the community unite and bond together and so we can celebrate our loved ones,” Villegas said. “I think still there’s a lot of educating that we need to do in the community in regards to Day of the Dead.”

El Dia de Los Muertos or Day of the Dead dates back to the Aztecs and it is a two-day holiday celebrated on November 1st and 2nd in which families create ofrendas to honor their departed family members that have passed.

The ofrendas are placed on alters that are colorfully decorated with bright yellow marigold flowers, photos of the departed, and the favorite foods and drinks of the ones being honored.

Villegas said one of the more common misconceptions of the Day of the Dead is that it is Halloween.

“A lot of people mistake Halloween with Day of the Dead and it’s totally, totally two different things,” Villegas said. “I thought it was a great opportunity for us to educate our community to be culturally sensitive and understand that Day of the Dead has nothing to do with Halloween although it’s so close in date.”

One of the ofrendas is located in Ridgeline High School to help minority students feel included and other students to learn.

Another ofrenda is located in White Pine Funeral Services to help the community become more comfortable with funeral homes. She said she had to experience and go into the funeral home when her loved one passed away and wanted the community to get to feel comfortable with funeral homes before they had to experience it like she did.

“I had to experience it going into that place and once I had the experience and made it more, obviously it’ll never be enjoyable, but more comfortable,” Villegas said. “That’s the experience that I want to give our community. Go in to a funeral home, meet them. It’s not scary.”

The ofrendas in different locations will be available during different time lines. Community members can also visit an ofrenda at Sabores Restaurant, RHS and White Pine from now until Nov. 5.

Utah State University will host the annual Día de los Muertos procession which will end with an a public ofrenda on Nov. 2 outside the Taggart Student Center. The ofrenda for this event will only be available on Nov. 2.

South Cache Middle School will also host five ofrendas from Nov. 5 and 8 which the public can visit from 8 am to 2 pm. Visitors to the school would need to register at the front office and inform the office they are there to visit the ofrendas.

SCMS Dual Language Immersion & Beginning Spanish Teacher Agustin Rodriguez said the students that will prepare four of the five ofrendas have been in the Language Immersion program since elementary school. The fifth ofrenda will be prepared by native Spanish speaking students in the school.

“It is important to keep the traditions alive in these children who are native speakers so that they do not forget their roots, where we come from and who we are,” Rodriguez said. “For the other children who are not native speakers or have Latin ancestry at all, so that they know the vastness of cultures that exist in the valley and near the United States.”

Rodriguez said he loves to see how the students enjoy and understand the purpose of the celebration is to honor those that have passed.

According to Rodriguez, the students’ parents are really excited to participate in the tradition. He said that in the future, he would like to see the participation of the education community in the event.

“I am grateful to all those who participate in the elaboration of the ofrendas because they keep our traditions alive,” Rodriguez said. “To those who are not a part of culture but are interested in it, twice as much gratitude for that interest.”

Villegas encourages anyone who is willing and wants to take a picture of a loved one and something that loved one loved to place on the ofrenda.

“This is what this ofrendas are. It’s the memory, the honor of those that have passed,” Villegas said. “We definitely invited everyone in the community to go at the ofrenda, look at them, get to know them and ask question.”

Participants or visitors to the ofrendas can participate in a giveaway sponsored by Justin Nuñez by taking a picture and posting it with the hashtag #Ofrendasdecachevalley.

“I would love to see a big Day of the Dead with ofrendas all over Cache Valley but this is just the beginning,” Villegas said. “Hopefully, Cache Valley accepts it and embraces it.”

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.