The Hispanics of Today and Tomorrow and Emporia Main Street hosted a Day of the Dead celebration on Oct. 26.
The block party consisted of food, art work, face painting, and other holiday traditions.
“It is a celebration of the living and the dead,” said Jasmine Ocampo, an employee of her family’s taco truck La Donas Food Truck.
The belief is that if favorite foods and decorations are put out to honor loved ones who have passed they will come and enjoy the gifts left for them.
“We don’t want to forget past loved ones,” said Sally Sanchez, former organizer of Hispanics of Today and Tomorrow. She continues, “It is not morbid, it’s not somber. (We’re) celebrating with those who have passed.”
Marigolds are left at graves and music is typically brought. It is seen as a celebration of life rather than a mourning of death.
Victer DelAlba explained it is not meant to be scary because, “You’re not celebrating a stranger, it’s your family.” DelAlba’s daughter, Brenda Lopez, a junior at Emporia State, translated for him.
Tomas Ocampo specifically honors his father, who passed away at the age of 25. He celebrates his father’s life with an ofrenda--a shrine for the deceased loved ones-- decorated with pictures and bright flowers.
“You have to remember they memory they left behind,” said Ocampo.