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Champaign-Urbana community members pay respects during the Day of the Dead

The community ofrenda, or altar, includes different pictures, sugar skulls and decorations to remember those who passed away.

URBANA – El Dia De Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, originated in Mexico to remember those who have passed away. The holiday takes place on November 1st and 2nd.

Although the holiday originated in Mexico, it has started to be developed in other countries. 

La Casa Cultural Latina was able to share a few traditions with the Champaign-Urbana community. 

At the El Dia De Los Muertos event at the University YMCA, guests painted sugar skulls and built a community ofrenda, or altar.

Julio Velasco is an associate director of La Casa. He helped organize the event for the community.

“It just gives us an opportunity to honor and celebrate our loved ones that we’ve lost, really get a chance to reconnect with. A lot of people are very dear to us,” Velasco said. “Also, it’s really important because it gives us a place to build community and just be amongst like people that matter to us.”

Jonathan Alday is a University of Illinois student. He attended the event and appreciated the sense of community there.

Alday says the event felt like home for him seeing everyone walk with familiar food he would eat back at home. 

“Dia De Los Muertos is obviously a bit melancholic because you remember the dead, but you also want to remember them fondly,” Alday said. “So it’s just nice seeing everyone walking around celebrating.” 

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Luis Velazquez-Perez

Luis Velazquez-Perez

Luis Velazquez- Perez recently earned a B.S. in Journalism with a minor in Latina/Latino studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is now pursuing his Master's in Journalism. Aside as an intern at Illinois Newsroom, Velazquez-Perez has written for The Daily Illini, Cicero Independiente and C-U CitizenAccess. He aspires to be a bilingual public radio journalist

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