Paying their respects

In honor of El Día de los Muertos, Resurreción Mexican Folk dance ballet folkorico on Sunday, Nov. 2, at the Downey Civic Theatre. They were one of the biggest teams who danced folkorico on this special day.

Carlos Garcia, Staff Writer

On Sunday, Nov. 2, the community and families of Downey gathered together at the second annual Downey Día de los Muertos Art Festival, at the Downey Civic Theatre, to remember and pray for friends and family who have lost their lives.

Although the festival started at 11 a.m., the opening ceremony did not occur until 12 p.m., when mayor Fernando Vasquez started off with a short prayer and speech, thanking the community for coming.

The festival, hosted by the City of Downey, consisted of food trucks, market shops, live music, dancing, face painting, calaveras decorating, a district-wide altar contest, ballet folkorico performances by different folkorico groups around Los Angeles county, and an art gallery presented by the Downey Arts Coalition.

Due to the size of the event, volunteers were needed to keep the festival running smoothly. Senior Leslie Payan, a member of Future Teachers of America, decided to participate.

“I didn’t think it was going to be that big,” Payan said, “But it was really cool and heart-warming to see that so many people showed up with their families for this event and had fun.”

Members of the community enjoyed themselves as well. Alicia Castro, 24, came to the festival with her family, dressed with makeup to look like calaveras, or skulls, to be familiar with the tradition.

“Dressing up with my friends and their kids was great and I think it brought us a bit closer,” Castro stated. “This isn’t an everyday thing with them.”

In the zocalo, or ceremony center, community members danced to local live bands.

“My parents ended up dancing all day and basically abandoned me,” junior Alejandra Mendez said.

Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is an originally Mexican holiday celebrated all throughout the country and other cultures worldwide. It is a day to remember friends and family who have lost their lives. Often, altars are created to remember the dead and people eat foods like pan de muerto. The holiday lands on November 1 but can also be celebrated on November 2.

Overall, the mood of the festival was lively. It not only was a lively time, but it also showed the Downey community what the city had to offer for the subsequent years.