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November 2, 2013 at 9:19 PM

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Dia De Los Muertos


Día de los Muertos, also known as the Day of the Dead, is a two-day celebration that allows people a time to remember, rejoice and remember the lives of those who have passed away. They make altars for the departed with offerings of their favorite food, photographs and memorabilia. It is also known as an ofrenda. The purpose is for the souls to visit, listen to the prayers of the living and be close to their loved ones.

This past Friday, Nov. 1, the organizers at El Centro de la Raza hosted its 9th annual Día de los Muertos celebrations featuring a special 3-week-long ofrenda exhibit that is put together by various local artists and local organizations.

The celebrations also included a 5-hour-long traditional prayer ceremony led by Ce Atl Tonalli, an Aztec dance group, around the ofrenda for Roberto Maestas, founder of El Centro de la Raza. The prayer ceremony is filled with songs, offerings, drum beats, smoke from the burning copal, and names of the departed souls that people wish to rejoice and remember.



MARCUS YAM / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Members of the Ce Atl Tonalli, an Aztec dance group, Julia Diaz, top, uses a popoxcomitl, a jar containing burning copal, an aromatic tree resin used in ancient Aztec rituals, to cleanse and bless Araceli Jaime, bottom before their prayer ceremony begins, at the Día de los Muertos celebration, at the El Centro de la Raza, in Seattle, on Friday, Nov. 1, 2013. The smoke created by the burning copal is is meant to cleanse the space, the mind, and open one's consciousness to be present in the moment.

MARCUS YAM / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Linda Eblen, left, and Theresa Daverio, right, watch members of the traditinal dance group, Folklore Mexicano Tonantzin, perform as the duo wait in line for dinner served during the Día de los Muertos celebrations, also known as the Day of the Dead, at the El Centro de la Raza, in Seattle, on Friday, Nov. 1, 2013.

MARCUS YAM / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Members of the traditinal dance group, Folklore Mexicano Tonantzin, perform for an audience during the Día de los Muertos celebrations, also known as the Day of the Dead, at the El Centro de la Raza, in Seattle, on Friday, Nov. 1, 2013.

MARCUS YAM / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Fermin Miranda, with his son, Emiliano Miranda, 4, walk up the staircase to see the offrenda exhibit at the Día de los Muertos celebrations at the El Centro de la Raza, in Seattle, on Friday, Nov. 1, 2013.

MARCUS YAM / THE SEATTLE TIMES

An ofrenda by the "Washington Anti-trafficking Response Network" gathers attention at the top floor where there is a large ofrenda exhibit, put forth by various local artists and local organizations at the Día de los Muertos celebrations, also known as the Day of the Dead, at the El Centro de la Raza, in Seattle, on Friday, Nov. 1, 2013. The ofrenda exhibit will available for public viewing for the next three weeks.

MARCUS YAM / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Araceli Jaime, a member of the Ce Atl Tonalli, an Aztec dance group, make final adjustments to the ofrenda dedicated to "Michailhuitl" of Día de los Muertos, also known as the Day of the Dead, at the El Centro de la Raza, in Seattle, on Friday, Nov. 1, 2013. In the Nahuatl language, "Michailhuitl" means celebration of the dead. With 15 people working on it, the ofrenda was completed in over 20 hours.

MARCUS YAM / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Araceli Jaime, a member of Ce Atl Tonalli, an Aztec dance group, uses a popoxcomitl, a jar containing burning copal, an aromatic tree resin used in ancient Aztec rituals, to fill the air with smoke as they sing during the prayer ceremony at the Día de los Muertos celebration, at the El Centro de la Raza, in Seattle, on Friday, Nov. 1, 2013. The smoke created by the burning copal is is meant to cleanse the space, the mind, and open one's consciousness to be present in the moment.

MARCUS YAM / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Members of Ce Atl Tonalli, an Aztec dance group, build an offering for the spirits, made out of carnation flowers and cedar leaves, and bless it during the prayer ceremony at the Día de los Muertos celebrations at the El Centro de la Raza, in Seattle, on Friday, Nov. 1, 2013.

MARCUS YAM / THE SEATTLE TIMES

A traditional prayer ceremony performed by Ce Atl Tonalli, an Aztec dance group, gathers a large crowd around the ofrenda for Roberto Maestas, the founder of El Centro de la Raza, during the Día de los Muertos celebrations, also known as the Day of the Dead, at the El Centro de la Raza, in Seattle, on Friday, Nov. 1, 2013.

MARCUS YAM / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Candles are arranged in 2 straight lines leading up the ofrenda, as they represent a pathway for the spirits to come to the altar for every name that was called out at the prayer ceremony during Día de los Muertos celebration, also known as the Day of the Dead, at the El Centro de la Raza, in Seattle, on Friday, Nov. 1, 2013. After each spirit that was named, a candle would be lit. The light of the candle itself would guide them to the altar.

MARCUS YAM / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Araceli Jaime, bottom right, a member of Ce Atl Tonalli, an Aztec dance group, leads a large crowd in a singing prayer as they call out names of spirits that people wish to be rejoice and remember during the Día de los Muertos celebrations at the El Centro de la Raza, in Seattle, on Friday, Nov. 1, 2013.

MARCUS YAM / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Esmael Xiutecpatl, performs a limpia blessing with a flower staff made from the offerings of carnation flowers and cedar leaves as a way to bid the summoned spirits farewell after remembering them during the prayer ceremony at the Día de los Muertos, also known as the Day of the Dead, at the El Centro de la Raza, in Seattle, on Friday, Nov. 1, 2013.

MARCUS YAM / THE SEATTLE TIMES

A farewell song is sung for the spirits as the prayer ceremony comes to a conclusion at the Día de los Muertos celebration at the El Centro de la Raza, in Seattle, on Friday, Nov. 1, 2013. The traditional prayer event lasted for 5 hours.

MARCUS YAM / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Veronica Aguilar, holding her son, Emiliano Miranda, 4, gets a limpia blessing from Esmael Xiutecpatl, right, during the traditional prayer ceremony at the Día de los Muertos celebrations at the El Centro de la Raza, in Seattle, on Friday, Nov. 1, 2013. The blessing, is a way to bid farewell to the summoned spirits after the 5-hour long ceremony.

MARCUS YAM / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Adelina Vallejo, right, kneels and prays after the farewell song to the spirits in sung, during the traditional prayer ceremony for the Día de los Muertos celebrations at the El Centro de la Raza, in Seattle, on Friday, Nov. 1, 2013.

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