Día de Muertos is upon us.
Though death is central to the holiday, Día de Muertos is a celebration of life. It’s an opportunity to remember loved ones who have died and honor their memory.
The traditional way of celebrating is by making an ofrenda — an altar that often features a photo of the person being remembered, candles, foods and items specific to them, cempasúchiles (marigolds), papel picado and calaveras (sugar skulls).
Día de Muertos, which is observed in Mexico and other parts of Latin America, has gained popularity in Southern California thanks to groups like Self-Help Graphics & Arts, which began organizing a public event in the 1970s. Nowadays, you can find Día de Muertos celebrations across the region, and we have put together this handy list of where to find them.
Most, if not all, of these events were canceled in 2020 and 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. As an alternative, the Los Angeles Times created a digital altar.
The idea was to create a communal space where readers could still have the experience of celebrating their loved ones in public, albeit online. We asked you to submit photos of someone you wanted to honor, along with a memory or anecdote about them.
Our initial hope was to get 40 or 50 submissions. We ended up receiving more than 1,000 ofrendas from across the country, and in four languages. It was the most successful audience call-out in Times history.
This year, we are once again creating a digital altar. To participate, simply fill out the form below. Please note that it will take time for your submission to appear on the page.
We are accepting ofrendas until Nov. 1 at 6pm PT.
Additionally, we will also have a physical altar, which will be part of Hollywood Forever Cemetery’s 23rd Day of the Dead celebration on Oct. 29. The altar is being designed and built by Latino scenery director and stage-set designer Ricardo Soltero. It will be a tribute to Times employees, employees’ families and submissions from The Times’ digital ofrenda from last year. Buy tickets here.
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