Oct 28, 2022 - News

A neighborhood altar celebrates Dia de los Muertos

An altar outside the Stephens home. Photo: Esteban L. Hernandez/Axios Denver

What started as Paul Stephens' altar to his late father is now a community shrine.

  • Stephens started the altar in 2020 outside his Harvey Park home, before opening it to other neighbors and people across the metro area to mourn and celebrate their loved ones.

Details: Creating the altar is a key component of Dia de los Muertos – Day of the Dead – which is traditionally observed at the beginning of November.

  • The modern holiday is rooted in Mexican culture and is a blend recognizing rituals once celebrated by the Aztecs and Christian and Catholic observances of All Saints' Days, according to University of Arizona associate professor Michelle Téllez.
  • Creating altars means placing photos alongside ofrendas, or offerings, of things loved ones enjoyed in life, like foods and flowers, including bright orange marigolds, which are often used to decorate ofrendas.

What's next: Denver's oldest Dia de los Muertos celebration takes place Nov. 1, starting at 4 pm at Troy Chavez Peace Garden at 3825 Shoshone St. in Denver.

  • A procession will follow from the garden to La Raza Park, which will feature ceremonies and music. People are encouraged to bring flowers and candles.
Photos and mementos decorate the neighborhood tribute to the departed. Photo: Esteban L. Hernandez/Axios Denver

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