In the Mexican culture, and now throughout the Americas, the feast of the Day of the Dead or Día de los Muertos, is a two day celebration where it is believed that the passageway between the real world and the spirit world is open and loved ones are able to come back to visit us.

Heralded as a time of celebration, during Día de los Muertos, families gather at cemeteries and/or build altars in honor of the departed. Great care is taken in constructing these memorials of love and remembrance, where family and friends will gather to celebrate the lives of the departed—placing favorite foods, beverages, photos, and memorabilia—as well as candles and marigolds, whose light and strong fragrance helps lead the dead back to their altars.

“Día de los Muertos is a celebration of life in continuation and tradition rooted in love and family,” said Fr. Joseph Delgado, Chaplain at On Lok. "While families and friends gather together to feast and then sing, dance, and rejoice, the observation is very much about the power of the human spirit and connection of family.”

Día de los Muertos is similar to the Christian tradition of All Souls Day—as both share in the many beautiful expressions of love and hope that is left behind when a loved one passes—and has grown in popularity among different ethnic groups in recent years. In honor of Día de los Muertos, Rev. Father Delgado worked with On Lok’s Activity Staff, to create a virtual altar where all community members could share their own Día de los Muertos celebrations, including altars created at home.

“The strength of family and our connection to those we have lost, is a power that extends across cultures,” said Fr. Delgado. “At On Lok, we are always proud to help our community remember their connection to family and heritage, and our virtual altar was a vibrant, colorful, personal display of love to family members across many diverse ethnic groups.”