In the Christian tradition, the month of November is a time when we remember our deceased family, friends and loved ones. There are different ways that we remember those who have gone before us. On November 2nd, some of the clients from Cabrini Immigrant Services (CIS), Dobbs Ferry, shared their celebration of Día de los Muertos, (the Day of the Dead), with the residents at St. Cabrini Nursing Home.
A beautiful altar was created in the lobby of the nursing home. As our clients built the altar, there was such reverence, love and tears that went into it. Each piece that was added to the altar had great meaning. It is customary in Mexico and many of the countries in South America to build an altar in your home to remember the dead. Our clients were from Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.
The program began in the chapel where our clients spoke about the meaning of Día de los Muertos. They sang, La Llorona, a special song that is sung on this day. The residents were led out to the lobby where the altar was displayed. There were luminaria bags in the hall that lit the way to the altar.
The clients spoke about the altar and the meaning of the different items. There were pictures of their loved ones on the altar. Special flowers, fruits, bread, sugar skulls and candles were also placed on the altar. Not only do the items have special meaning, but it is also important to have many colors exhibited.
Through tears, many described how being able to share in this moment helped them as they prayed and remembered their loved ones. Everyone present was invited to add the names of their loved ones to the altar where they will be remembered in prayer.