From altars to festivals, here’s how North Texans can celebrate Día de los Muertos
The Day of the Dead holiday is a time to reflect, celebrate and honor deceased loved ones. North Texas is commemorating this tradition with a variety of events.
At the North Oak Cliff Branch Library stands a small ofrenda, an offering altar set up with photos and sculptures of businesses that have shut down during the pandemic in Dallas’ neighborhood of Oak Cliff.
It offers residents a place to honor the “huge cultural loss of spaces in our community,” Oak Cliff resident Victoria Ferrell-Ortiz said. She created the altar.
Día de los Muertos, which will take place Nov. 1 and 2, is a tradition that has been celebrated for thousands of years and traces back to indigenous tribes in Mexico. Altars are a huge part of the celebration.
“This altar is unique in that it centers spaces, so it offers a land acknowledgment saying this is stolen land,” Ferrell-Ortiz said.
One of the businesses highlighted is El Fenix Mexican Restaurant, which was located on Colorado Boulevard in Oak Cliff. After 72 years, it was demolished in the summer of 2020 to build eight-story apartments. Another is El Corazon de Tejas, which closed its doors in 2017, but Ferrell-Ortiz said the pandemic reminded her of how a restaurant's demolition still stings years later.
Dispersed throughout Ferrell-Ortiz’s ofrenda are note cards that explain the significance of each caricature or decoration. One reads: What do you do when your favorite restaurant closes?
The ofrenda is also a commentary on the gentrification of the neighborhood and highlights the importance of educating residents on zoning policies in the city.
“Oak Cliff is currently being developed and the community should be at the center of that and historical preservation,” Ferrell-Ortiz said.
On this Day of the Dead, Ferrell-Ortiz said she will remember the closed businesses “that are significant to us; to people of color and to our history.”
Altars, traditional folkloric clothing and live performances will highlight local Day of the Dead.
Here’s where you can celebrate the holiday:
Latino Cultural Center Dia de los Muertos Festival
Date: Oct. 30
Time: 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Location: Latino Cultural Center
Address: 2600 Live Oak St, Dallas, TX 75204
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