Remembering loved ones: the vibrant tradition of Day of the Dead spreads its roots in Bakersfield

December 2, 2023 /

Day of the Dead, a day in which our deceased loved ones’ spirits come to visit us one more time on November 1 and 2. The spirits are received with an altar which consists of a table with their picture and their favorite foods and drinks and any items that they cherished in life and sprinkled with cempasuchil flower petals. 

This tradition was originally only seen in Mexico and Latin America but spread to the US so that Hispanic families could also honor their departed loved ones.

At the thirteenth Annual Day of the Dead Festival, hosted by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the altars of the many families who participated in this tradition were lined up side by side all decorated with pictures and food so that the people who attended could admire their altars. The celebration included food from many vendors and music from local mariachi bands.

Esperanza Cabrera, when asked what the day of the dead meant to her, responded saying, ”It is an old tradition passed on by our ancestors where we hope that our deceased loved ones come and visit us to enjoy the food they loved left at the altar, and even though the day of the dead is only for one day we always keep them in our hearts and prayers.” 

When asked what she felt going to the Day of the Dead Festival at the Kern County fairgrounds Cabrera continued by stating: ”I felt very emotional because every year this tradition is growing here in Bakersfield and I’m so happy to see that this tradition that is very dear to me won’t be forgotten by the generations to come.”

Those interested in attending next year’s celebration or participating can follow the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s social media on Instagram and Facebook to stay informed about the festivities. This is an inclusive and respectful way of celebrating the holiday with other Kern County locals. 

“The Day of the Dead is a beautiful tradition in which I commemorate and celebrate the life of my grandma and close daily members that have passed away. It’s bittersweet setting up the altar each year but feeling their presence and anticipating their visit is a feeling like no other,” said Breandra Cabrera an attendee at the Day of the Dead festival.

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