Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care on Friday hosted an intimate gathering for their entire staff to honor Día de los Muertos.
This is the fifth year that VNHC has commemorated this Latin tradition of celebrating the lives of loved ones who have passed away.
During the week, the staff decorated the altar, or “ofrenda,” with mementos, photos of loved ones who have passed, and with a beautiful array of Latin cultural icons and offerings related to the holiday. The key component of the traditional decoration is the use of marigold flowers in profusion, and the VNHC altar definitely followed this tradition well.
To begin the staff’s gathering on Friday morning, Lauren McElroy Herrera, VNHC’s diversity outreach coordinator, introduced Ana Ríos from the Mexican Consulate in Oxnard. Ríos presented Lynda Tanner, president and CEO of VNHC with a certificate of recognition for VNHC’s work in preserving Mexican traditions and customs in the United States.
Staff were then welcomed to taste some of the delicious Latin snacks and drinks, including “pan de muerto” and “champurrado,” all cooked by fellow VNHC staff members.
Bea Molina, associate manager of Volunteer Services, presented the historical and cultural aspects of the day, indicating the various decorations on the altar.
Then to finish the presentation, Mari Hernandez, one of VNHC’s bereavement counselors, talked about the bereavement component in Latin culture and described the importance of celebrating and never forgetting those who have passed.
The altar will be on display at VNHC’s offices for the next week so that VNHC staff can continue to keep the dead in their thoughts.
— Jennifer Guess is a publicist representing Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care.