Alejandro, 6, and Elizabeth, 8, Camacho from Woodinville with their sugar skulls at the Día de los Muertos event on Nov. 2 at the Centro Cultural Mexicano in Redmond. Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo

Alejandro, 6, and Elizabeth, 8, Camacho from Woodinville with their sugar skulls at the Día de los Muertos event on Nov. 2 at the Centro Cultural Mexicano in Redmond. Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo

Redmond celebrates Día de los Muertos

The Day of the Dead event celebrates the lives of departed loved ones.

Redmond residents and surrounding communities gathered on Nov. 2 to celebrate life at the Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) event at the Centro Cultural Mexicano in Redmond.

Families decorated sugar skulls, made maracas and honored loved ones by placing their photos on a community altar. Special performances included a poetry reading by Michael Dylan Welch, Nicole La Follette and Rose Ramm and an interactive improv theater workshop by Once Told Tales. Traditional Mexican food was also available for purchase at the event.

According to Carlos Jimenez and Angie Hinojos Yusuf — executive director and director for the center, respectively — about 200 people attended the event throughout the day.

“It’s bigger than we expected,” Jimenez said. “I think it’s a need in our community. The community is hungry for these [types] of events. The purpose was to share our Mexican culture.”

For Angelica Reyna of Woodinville, she said events like the Day of the Dead are a priority in her family.

“It’s a priority to not lose our roots,” she said. “These kind of events help us to be close to our roots and our country. It makes us feel close.”

A Redmond community alter with photos of loved ones to honor and celebrate the lives they lived. Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo

A Redmond community alter with photos of loved ones to honor and celebrate the lives they lived. Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo

Día de los Muertos is an annual Mexican tradition that is now celebrated on the first two days of November. The tradition celebrates the lives of departed loves ones and the new life that comes from death. Nov. 1 is reserved for honoring deceased children and Nov. 2 is reserved for deceased adults. The origins of Día de Los Muertos are rooted in Mesoamerican culture and possibly Aztec festivals that celebrated the goddess Mictecacihuatl. The Aztecs believed it was offensive to mourn the dead. Instead they celebrated life.

One way Día de los Muertos is celebrated is by constructing altars. Altars are often decorated in vibrant oranges and purples — to guide the spirits back to the world — and piled with ofrendas (offerings) such as candles, flowers, personal possessions, foods such as pan de muerto (bread of the dead), and drinks. Pictures of loved ones are also placed on the altar to honor and celebrate the lives they led and even call them back to their families for one day. Holding graveside vigils is also still common in many Mexican communities.

Placing pictures of loved ones and their favorite things on the altar, honors and celebrates the lives they lived. Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo

Placing pictures of loved ones and their favorite things on the altar, honors and celebrates the lives they lived. Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo

Attendees decorated sugar skulls at the Día de los Muertos event at the Centro Cultural Mexicano in Redmond on Nov.2. Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo

Attendees decorated sugar skulls at the Día de los Muertos event at the Centro Cultural Mexicano in Redmond on Nov.2. Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo

Lumbini, 8, from Sammamish decorates a sugar skull at the Día de los Muertos event at the Centro Cultural Mexicano in Redmond on Nov. 2. Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo

Lumbini, 8, from Sammamish decorates a sugar skull at the Día de los Muertos event at the Centro Cultural Mexicano in Redmond on Nov. 2. Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo

Executive director Carlos Jimenez and director Angie Hinojos Yusuf welcome the community to the Día de los Muertos event at the Centro Cultural Mexicano in Redmond on Nov. 2. Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo

Executive director Carlos Jimenez and director Angie Hinojos Yusuf welcome the community to the Día de los Muertos event at the Centro Cultural Mexicano in Redmond on Nov. 2. Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo

A special poetry performance by Michael Dylan Welch, Nicole La Follette and Rose Ramm. Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo

A special poetry performance by Michael Dylan Welch, Nicole La Follette and Rose Ramm. Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo

More in Life

Dora Gyarmati. Photo by Nityia Photography
Three simple rules for the holiday

A monthly column about mindfulness.

Redmond Lights will take place Dec. 7 and 8. Photo courtesy of city of Redmond Facebook
Redmond Lights will have new additions this year

The parks and recreation department shared a preview of the festival with city council.

Photo courtesy of Neelam Chahlia 
                                The Redmond City Council recognized Neelam Chahlia’s participation in the Mrs. America contest as Mrs. Washington at its Nov. 19 meeting.
Redmond council recognizes Chalia’s participation in the Mrs. America contest

The Mrs. Washington winner was recognized at the Nov. 19 city council meeting.

Photo courtesy of The Bear Creek School 
                                Bear Creek National Honor Society students from left, Kate McDonough, Chuck McDonough, James Wadhwani, Tyler Doyle, Benjamin Ferreira, Kathryn Sutherland, Ryan Bracewell, Nelson Sun and Annemarie Mullet delivered food donations to the Hopelink food bank in Redmond.
Bear Creek food drive brings in six and a half tons of food

The school’s National Honor Society chapter organized the drive and the food was donate to Hopelink.

For veterans, there’s no better cause to push than helping other vets

Jim Curtis and Mark Gorman are two of many veteran advocates on the Eastside.

Fairwinds-Redmond to honor veterans

WWII veterans Morten Joslin and Nick Nichols share their stories.

Alejandro, 6, and Elizabeth, 8, Camacho from Woodinville with their sugar skulls at the Día de los Muertos event on Nov. 2 at the Centro Cultural Mexicano in Redmond. Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo
Redmond celebrates Día de los Muertos

The Day of the Dead event celebrates the lives of departed loved ones.

From left: National Merit Scholarship semifinalists Rita Luk, Lauren Shen, Nelson Sun and commended students Andrew Hom and Matthew Jensen. Courtesy photo of Bear Creek School
Three Bear Creek School students named National Merit semifinalists

Two more students were recognized as national commended students.

The team that created Vitality, the first-prize winning app. Courtesy photo
DelBene hosts annual app-a-thon for local students

Students from Redmond place in competition.

Staying fit through the holidays

It is possible to train yourself to exercise as part of who you are.

In 1967 Nokomis Club of Redmond sponsored a tea at the local branch of the King County Library system to commemorate National Library Week. Photo courtesy of Redmond Historical Society Facebook
110 years of community investment

The Nokomis club celebrates their 110th Anniversary.

Queen Latifah headlines Hopelink’s Reaching Out luncheon Oct. 21. From left: Queen Latifah, luncheon chairs Lynne Varner and Paul Hollie, and Hopelink CEO Lauren Thomas. Madison Miller/staff photo
Queen Latifah headlines Hopelink’s annual fundraiser

Hopelink raised about $1.15 million at the annual fundraiser.