The Yakima community has embraced the cultural diversity of the area with various cultural celebrations and numerous restaurants offering authentic Mexican cuisine. Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead is one of these annual celebrations; a century’s old tradition of the Latino people remembering, honoring, and celebrating the lives of loved ones who have passed away. The ritual, Dia de los Muertos, was started by the Aztecs 3,000 years ago and eventually merged with Christianity. Originally celebrated in the summer, the tradition was moved to November 1 and 2 to coincide with All Saints Day and All Souls Day. In Mexico, believers gather in the cemetery with candles, flowers, and music for joyous festivities in remembrance of the lives of family members. Join the celebrations by viewing the altars and remembering your own loved ones and stop for a traditional meal at one of the many Mexican restaurants. Hint: be sure to stop in at James Beard winner Los Hernandez in Union Gap for their iconic tamales!
There are a few locations where you can view altars and artwork indicative of this tradition.
Dia de los Muertos Celebration at Mighty Tieton Warehouse: Sweet sugar skulls, bright colors, and bitter-smelling cempazuchitl (calendula) flowers evoke vibrant, ephemeral life and bitter, inevitable death—embracing both. Each year Tieton Arts & Humanities hosts a celebration and creates a large community altar for everyone to add to. Visitors can bring photos of loved ones, write messages, help decorate, and bring candies or breads. This provides a special opportunity to remember those who are no longer with us. The community Altar Exhibition will be available from October 28 – November 18. Open Friday, Saturday & Sunday from 12 – 3 p.m. Artist Fulgencio Lazo has created a room size traditional sand painting in the warehouse.
The Yakima-Morelia City Association’s 14th Annual Día de los Muertos Community Altar Exhibit: Open Noon to 6:00 p.m. daily to November 3rd, 2018 in Downtown Yakima at 316 E. Yakima Ave. There will be a Día de los Muertos Craft Workshop on November 3rd at 1:00 p.m. At the exhibit, you’ll learn about this rich cultural event, which is a blend of Aztec traditions of remembering the dead and the Catholic traditional celebration of All Saints Day and All Souls Day brought by the Spanish conquistadors. We invite all of our Valley’s cultures to share their traditions in honoring the lives of those who have died. This includes relatives, friends, special heroes, and especially the Angelitos (the little children). Our goal is to provide a shared cultural experience for our community and to bring people to downtown Yakima. The Yakima-Morelia Sister City Association promotes the mutual understanding and the sharing of cultural diversity by facilitating interaction.