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Día de Los Muertos Celebrations in Northwest Arkansas

Día de Los Muertos, on Nov. 1 and 2, is the ancient Mexican and Mexican-American religious holiday celebrating and honoring the souls of deceased family members.

SPRINGDALE, Ark — The day after Halloween has many looking forward to Christmas or Thanksgiving, but for many Mexican-Americans, it’s all about Día de Los Muertos.

“It’s a very, a very important day. I think one of the most important days for Mexicans specifically,” said Silvia Merino, events director of the Latin Art Organization of Arkansas.

On November 1 and 2, Mexican and Mexican-Americans look forward to celebrating with their deceased loved ones again.

“The last time that we see them, it’s not when they are gone,” Merinos said. “We are expecting to see them again and we believe that God allows them to cross the bridge that is between where we are and wherever they are.”

 An ofrenda base was set on Shiloh Square and is where people can honor loved ones by placing some of their favorite things on the base.

“If they like a certain type of food you would normally cook that for them,” Merinos said. “And we just put it in the ofrenda. It’s like an offer for them.”

This celebration of lost loved ones has taken place in Northwest Arkansas for the past eight years in partnership with Downtown Springdale.

“We’re trying to help amplify and support the work that they’re doing we’ve given them some marketing support,” said Jill Dabbs, executive director of Downtown Springdale. “To develop in an promote a better downtown and we can’t do it if it is not reflected by the communities that it’s a serves.”

As the Mexican American population in Springdale and Washington County continue to grow, Merino says she hopes to see this event continue to grow as well.

“Last year is when we saw more diversity,” Merinos said. “Because in the beginning, it was only Mexicans joining the party.” 

However, Merinos says the celebration is slowly becoming more diverse and she is excited.

If you are looking to come to Shiloh Square to honor and connect with your loved one, you are encouraged to bring a picture. Merino says that way they know how to find you.

More celebrations will take place Saturday at Shiloh Square from noon to 7 p.m. There will be mariachi performances, face painting, bike rides, an art exhibition and more.

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