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Celebrate Cultural Tradition of Dia de los Muertos in the Santa Maria Valley

Sugar skull and altars will be on display at the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Family Festival noon-4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 30, at the Veterans’ Memorial Community Center, 313 West Tunnell St., Santa Maria.

This free, family-friendly event includes a traditional procession, altar displays, food and arts vendors, crafts and art gallery and live entertainment.

Everyone is welcome to create an altar in memory of a deceased loved one. Altar creation is free, and pre-registration is required. Applications must be submitted to the Recreation and Parks Department (615 S. McClelland St.) by Friday, Oct. 21.

Dia de los Muertos is rooted in Hispanic and Central-American traditions, and originated centuries ago with the ancient indigenous Aztecs. They honored the lives of their late family members by creating and decorating beautiful altars with colorful flowers and favorite belongings of the departed. The tradition continued and has become popular in the United States.

“It’s a day of celebrating continued reverence for death and those who have passed,” said Cindy Hoskins, recreation supervisor at the city of Santa Maria. “In Santa Maria, the cultural celebration allows community members to celebrate and remember the lives of family and friends. All cultures are welcome to participate in this celebration.”

This year’s festival includes a Catrines and Catrinas Contest. Participants can dress up in the spirit of the Day of the Dead. Prizes will be given to the best ensemble. Participants can register onsite.

For more information, please contact Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department at 925-0951 ext. 2260. Altar and vendor applications are available at the Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department Administrative Offices or online at www.smartsfest.com.

— Chrisie Yabu for City of Santa Maria.


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