Muertos y Marigolds: Celebrating Día de los Muertos in the South Valley

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Last year, the South Valley went without one of its biggest traditions – the annual Día De Los Muertos Marigold Parade. It returned this year at a new venue.

“This is the Marigold Parade. This is the first year that they are doing here at the Gutierrez-Hubbell House, they did it for years when there was a big procession when they go down Arenal Boulevard,” said Margo Gurule, an event attendee. “It’s a huge event that has only gotten more popular. It’s a tradition that goes back hundreds of years.”

“We had a procession that went around, everybody walked around the area parading, it was just wonderful and really really great,” said Vincent Padilla, an MC for the parade.

Music filled the air in Albuquerque, with the strumming of guitars and shuffling of flamenco. Paradegoers danced along to the performance by Olivia Marín and Roxana Jian.

“We listen to each other and we listen to the music and we honor the people who were artists before us and we are singing and doing movements that have been done for generations,” said Marín.

“It’s a time to celebrate that they passed and not to be sorrowful, you know. Just to celebrate that they were here, they had fun, yes. They had their down times, but in the end, life was fruitful,” said Mariana Perez.

“The ofrendas, those are offerings, we went ahead and worked with a lot of different schools and elementary groups and they went ahead and put up displays,” said Gene Twofeathers Collins, an artist collaborating at the event.

“Día de los Muertos is just to remember their memories, we build alters in our homes and we bring their favorite food, and their pictures, we try to invite their spirit back,” said Gurule.

Some came from near, as others came from afar. Sai Chiliad, from Colorado, was visiting his family’s cemetery.

“At the cemetery, that’s the focal activity, you go to the graves and clean off the graves, refresh the flowers, talk with your ancestors, update them on what’s been going on with the family throughout the year,” Chiliad said. “So this is the first time I did that personally with my family. It’s a very powerful thing.”

“We got to move on, we have to surpass our losses sometimes, but at the end of the day, they’re still here with us in spirit,” said Ruben Perez with a smile, holding his family near.