ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – While Halloween has come to an end, the holiday season is not over yet. Throughout Abilene and across the globe, Papel picados, ofrendas, and calaveras mark the beginning of Día de los Muertos. Hundreds of Abilenians attended the Center for Contemporary Art’s ‘Art Walk’ downtown in traditional dress to celebrate the lives of loved ones passed on.
“The thing about Mexicans is our superpower is that we celebrate everything. When things are going well, we celebrate. When things are not going well, we celebrate. When things are okay, We celebrate!” said Abilene’s ‘Luchador’ Chido Man.
Young Ballet Folklorico dancers and Mariachi players who have been practicing all year got a chance to show their skills to much applause. Chido Man said it’s refreshing to see local kids getting so excited and involved in their heritage.
“Maybe you can hear the mariachi… most of them are middle school kids. And the Folklorico, they have people from 6 years old to teenagers, all celebrating their cultures here in Abilene, which is a very multicultural place… We see them in Abilene and in the news when we have events… But they are playing all year long,” Chido Man said.
Crafts such as sugar skulls, butterfly rings, and even a paper depiction of the Mayan feathered serpent deity Quetzalcoatl were made by many, and many more had their faces painted in the traditional look of the holiday. Some, as mentioned, showed up in their own celebratory outfits. One mother told KTAB/KRBC about her daughter’s Ofrenda-inspired dress, which was made from dyed corn husks and took about three weeks to make.
The holiday provides a link to this rich tradition and culture, but of course, also a link to the loved ones who have passed. Abilene resident Delia Reyez explained that although she only began to get into Día de los Muertos about seven years ago, she is fully involved and looks forward to it every year.
“I’ve always loved Día de los Muertos because it celebrates everybody’s loved ones across the world. More recently, I’ve been celebrating extra because I’ve had a lot of very close family members pass on… It’s a joyous occasion because you are remembering those who have left us. Just kind of let our family legacy live on through the Día de los Muertos,” Reyez said.
While music and colorful decorations can be seen out in public, the holiday has a very personal aspect within the home. Those who celebrate build ofrendas, or ‘alters,’ in memory and honor of those they have loved and lost.