DENVER (CBS4)- As the sun sets on Halloween, many Coloradans are preparing for day of the dead celebrations. Día de Los Muertos began at midnight Nov. 1 and runs through Nov. 2.
In Aurora, the Colorado Festival Día de Muertos has built not only one of the biggest altars in the state but the country. This is the fifth year organizers have hosted the event.
"I think you start feeling it when you lose someone," said the founder of the festival Norberto Mojardin. "That's when you understand why you're doing it."
Mojardin said it's all about passing down traditions to the next generation. And Mojardin said the months of planning and days of decorating, isn't necessarily for us. He said it's for the spirits that many believe will come down to visit-- a spiritual celebration that many Latinos around the world participate in.
"They don't need to be scared of death. Let's try to be more positive," Mojardin said. "We see it in another way, and believe in any religion you want to believe, but don't be scared of anything."
For many, Dia de Los Muertos has not only become a time to process death but trauma as well, especially the challenges of the pandemic. During a year when COVID-19 has taken the lives of so many, organizers said it's cultural traditions like this that make a difference for the community.
"And one of the things about covid is that everything changed, it's the loss of the way of life, that sense of security has been shattered, hundreds of thousands of people have died across the country, who've lost their jobs, kids are hurting at schools," said Alfredo Reyes, the executive director at the Latino Cultural Arts Center. "It means we're not helpless, that we have centuries of ceremonies, rituals and traditions, that help us reconnect with those positive aspects of life."
A connection, a moment, a celebration for really anyone missing a loved one.
"It's all about caring, and love, and how beautiful our Latino community is," Mojardin said.
The altar opened up to the community on Oct. 30 and will stay open until Tuesday. For more information on the event or to purchase tickets visit:
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