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During the fall, there are several significant days meant to honor those who have died and embrace the concept of an afterlife. Halloween has become a day devoted to candy and costumes, but it was originally All Hallows Eve, a time to rejoice in Christ’s victory over death. It’s followed by All Saints’ Day, in which we honor the saints, known and unknown. The next day is All Souls’ Day when we pray for the souls of those in Purgatory. One of the most memorable holidays at this time of year, though is Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead.

At the Catholic Cemeteries of the Diocese of San Jose, we recognize Dia de los Muertos with a big celebration at Calvary Cemetery on October 27th. Last year, over 1,500 people attended, and this year, our 9th annual celebration promises to be just as exciting. We invite you to join us, from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm on October 27th, at 2650 Madden Avenue, San Jose, CA 95116.

Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead, is one of Mexico’s traditional holiday reuniting and honoring beloved ancestors, family, and friends. It is an ancient ritual when the living commune with the dead – a mystical event when the veil is lifted between their two realms and they may share a day together. Family members share memorable stories recalling the lives of their ancestors, and offerings and altars are created to lovingly welcome and remember the dead. These altars are called ofrendas, and typically incorporate all four elements: Earth, Wind, Water, and Fire.

The Mexican culture has an interesting and healthy approach to death and dying. Throughout each period in Mexican culture, death seems to hold no terror.  In Mexican art, legends and religion, death has not been a mysterious and fearful presence, but a realistic, recognizable character of life itself.  Dia de los Muertos expresses this perspective: it is not a mournful commemoration, but a happy and colorful celebration of life where Death takes a lively, friendly expression and is not frightening or strange.

Dia de los Muertos is a time of celebration and a time to remember our deceased family and friends. Rather than to deny and fear death, this day teaches us to accept and contemplate the meaning of mortality and to celebrate life. Creating ofrendas and recalling stories is a wonderful opportunity to teach children about those who came before them, binding families together across generations.

We are excited to invite you to this 9th annual premier event. Come with photos and memorabilia to place on the community altar. View the unique altar display created by Catholic school and parish children that honor their loved ones.  The opening prayer service begins at 11 am followed by a day of wonderful ritual, music, and dance.  There will be face painting, photo booth, free children’s craft area, and bounce house, plus sale items from food trucks and art vendors. For more information call 650-428-3730, or email us.

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