The Pearl celebrates Día de los Muertos with altars, artwork and live music

Kaitlyn Rosas, Multimedia Editor

On Nov. 2, The Pearl hosted one of many free, family-friendly celebrations honoring the traditional Mexican holiday, Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). The Pearl park was filled with a serenade of traditional folk music, decorative Catrinas, Calaveras and adorned ofrendas (altars). 

The event included a community contributory ofrenda, live music from San Antonio native Tish Hinojosa and dancers on stilts from the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center.

A large ofrenda located in the center of the park was created by Hector Garza and his students from the Incarnate Word High School Foreign Language classes. Members of the community were encouraged to include photographs and write the names of loved ones on LED candles provided, to place on the altar for remembrance. 

While no dress code was required, many were inspired to attend the event in “su mejor vestido,” or “their best dress.” Arthur Cruz actually made his own Calavera headdress to wear for the Día de los Muertos festivities. 

Cruz describes the event as “Amazing, beautiful, colorful … it’s a wonderful thing to see … Especially since San Antonio has such a large Hispanic community. It makes me proud to be a San Antonian.” 

German Perez describes his participation in the event as part of his culture. 

“It is something that we celebrate every year. We didn’t know this was going to take place today, but we were looking forward to it. So that is why we dressed up.” Perez adds, “it brings me back to my childhood when I lived in Mexico. It makes me remember the family times, times spent with my father and remembering people that are no longer with us.” 

Altars commemorating the life and legacies of Mexican-American labor organizer and civil rights activist Emma Tenayuca and beloved Mexican singer-songwriter Vicente Fernandez were also included for visitation. Surrounding the Fernandez ofrenda was a Catrina garden created with paper mache by artist Regina Moya. 

For the last 10 years, San Antonio has been celebrating rich and beloved city-wide celebrations of Día de los Muertos. Every year, our community celebrates loved ones from our past and honors them in the present. As the music grew silent and the crowds drew away, the altars remained illuminated by candlelight. 

Attendee Cecilia Lara said, “It’s a way for us to keep the people that have left us alive.”

The celebration of Día de los Muertos makes death, not the marker of the end of your story but a chance to celebrate the life you have lived. This celebration allows us to not leave people who have passed behind but to cherish and champion their life journey in a way that leaves a lasting impression. With every year that passes, we do not leave our deceased loved ones behind. Their memory lives on for generations to come.