Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

Day of the Dead celebrated with tradition and color

Photos courtesy Leticia Maldonado-Stamos and Ricardo Favela

Leticia Maldonado-Stamos

Special to the Village News

On Sunday, October 29th, the Fallbrook Masonic Cemetery, along with community partners including VOCES de Fallbrook, Groupe Car Club, and Brooklife Car Club, invited the community to come to the cemetery to welcome the Day of the Dead by making an offering at the community altar or preparing the gravesite of their loved ones. Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) is traditionally observed throughout Mexico, Guatemala, and Latin America between November 1st and 2nd and is based on Indigenous traditions that have been observed for hundreds of years.

An offering, also known as an ofrenda, could include a copy of a photo of a deceased loved one along with their favorite food or drinks. The organizers of the event also asked participants to bring something to share, whether it be edible, cultural, performative, or by volunteering their time to support the event. The car clubs, many of whose members have loved ones resting at the cemetery, brought their clean and classic lowrider cars and used their trunks as altars decorated with photos, flowers, food, drinks, and memorabilia.

Volunteers offered face painting, arts and crafts, free books, sugar skulls, and music. Performers, most of them local from Fallbrook and Escondido, presented dances and showcased their talents. Among them were Danza Azteca Xinachtli, Ballet Folklorico del Fallbrook Community Center, Ballet Folklorico de Potter Jr. High, Fallbrook High’s Ballet Folklorico, Los Chinelos, and Dancing Cloud Native American drum. A highlight of the event was the singing performance by 9-year-old LuMaya, who appeared in a red mariachi dress and sang eight songs that tugged at the heartstrings of those who listened and watched. LuMaya is a cultural ambassador for the Escondido Center for the Arts and Tierra Caliente Dance Academy.

Food was provided by the community and prepared by Juan Olivas, a local cook and business owner, along with a team of volunteers. Over 70 volunteers came from the high school and Potter Junior High to support the event.

The community altar is the centerpiece of the event where all who wish can leave a framed photo of their loved ones. The altar will remain in place until November 3rd, so all are welcome to stop by the cemetery and leave their offerings for the occasion.

“This event is unique among the many taking place throughout San Diego in that it is one of the few held at a local cemetery. In regard to and out of respect for our loved ones resting here, no selling is allowed. Therefore, this event has been made possible by the donations the community has given over the years. Most are donating their time, talents, art, and financial support to make this event happen, and we are especially grateful to all, including the many local businesses and organizations that have contributed," said Morayma Flores-Highinio, an organizer with VOCES.


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