Annenberg Radio

Dia de Muertos celebrates the lives of loved ones

It’s a special day to honor and remember those gone too soon.

A photo of an altar with loved ones' photos placed inside Annenberg's Media Center.

Dia De Muertos is a special holiday for a lot of people, which originated in Mexico and Latin American countries. The multi-day holiday, which involves people gathering to pay respects and remember their loved ones who have died.

We spoke to USC students who shared how they celebrate Dia De Muertos and what it means to them.

Karen Martinez, a psychology major, says it’s a special tradition.

Karen Martinez: For my family and I, it means a day where we can celebrate all of our loved ones who have passed away while also honoring their memory and their presence even though they’re not here physically but just remember them in some way or another.

Martinez shares how her family comes together.

Karen Martinez: It’s a tradition that every year, my dad buys flowers and we make an altar for our loved ones in our living room that we keep for over a month. we get pictures of our loved ones. we decorate it with their favorite foods, drinks and we just fill it with flowers and things that remind us of them

AJ Chavez, a chemical biology student explains the significance of remembering the lost ones.

AJ Chavez: In the Latinx community in a specific, family means a lot and to have a day of reconciling and embracing those who you love, and you continue to love even after they’re gone it’s very important.

Los Angeles radio personality, Geraldine Guzman, better known as “Gee Gee” says her family begins the Dia de Muertos celebration early on.

Gee Gee: We start on the 28 of October with a glass of water for those souls that were literally forgotten and then we’ll put the next day a piece of bread for the children’s whose souls were forgotten and little by little, we gradually move on with pieces of food. and on the actual day, we’ll have a full feast then.

Samantha Valdovinos, an industrial systems engineering student remembers not only her loved ones but also her furry pet.

Samantha Valdovinos: My pet, she was a Terrier Chihuahua. It was a dog, Chispita, which means sparky in English. And I grew up with it and it was basically like one of my siblings. She grew up with me since I was little so we set up a candle and put up a picture of her.

Dia de Muertos happens over three days, October 31, November 1 and November 2. And while October 31st is Halloween, November 1 is the day of the children, Los Angelitos (day of the children who have passed away), and November 2 is all souls’ day, which makes Dia de Muertos.

Correction: This story was updated to correct a spelling error.