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GALLERY: Pilsen celebrates Día de los Muertos

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The people of Pilsen celebrated the 40th Annual Muertos De La Risa, a celebration for Día de los Muertos, or “Day of the Dead.”  Día de los Muertos is rooted in Mexican tradition and serves as an opportunity to celebrate life and remember loved ones who have passed.  The celebration, hosted by ElevArte Studioand SGA Youth and Family Services, took place Saturday at Dvorak Park in Pilsen, 1119 W. Cullerton St. 

Muertos De La Risa, Pilsen’s longest-running Día de los Muertos event, was free and open to the public.  Participants were welcomed at the entrance with flyers, face painting and food stands giving away horchata and other treats. Several stalls sold festive handmade jewelry, figurines and clothing.  

Student groups — including a Mariachi band, Circ Esteem, Latinos Juntos, an Afro-Caribbean Jazz Ensemble (coordinated by Adrian Ruiz), Latin Dance Lutz, Sounds of Samba and an Aztec Dance group — performed at a showcase in the upstairs gym. The performances showcased traditional songs and dances that reflected Mexican heritage, and also provided a window into the culture for those not as familiar with the traditions.

At 5 p.m., a procession led by the Aztec Dance group made its way through the surrounding neighborhood.  Spectators stopped to watch and cheered them on. Others set up ofrendas — Día de los Muertos altars for those who have passed — and decorated them with flowers and candle lights.

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