Arte Americas hosting Dia de Los Muertos exhibit

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- From the moment you walk through the doors of Arte Americas, you see lots of color, flowers and unique altars - each with a special meaning.

"It's not like Halloween and it's not about horror," says executive director Ruth Saludes. "It's about family, it's about remembering the past and those who have passed in our lives."

"Dia de Los Muertos" or "Day of the Dead" is a Hispanic tradition that started as an indigenous practice centuries ago.

People create altars of all sizes where they place pictures of loved ones, items that represent the person and very particular flowers called Cempasuchil.

"The yellow flower is very bright, it has a very pungent odor and all of the things are actually meant to guide the dead to the altar or your front door," Saludes said.

This year, 10 altars are part of the exhibit, " Dia De Muertos Altares Exhibition 2021."

"So you will see a lot of faces, a lot of pictures of people who have given their lives for others, and it's all very moving," he said.

You'll also spot an altar in memory of street vendors killed since 2020.

Meanwhile, one altar has 49 pictures of the people killed in the Orlando nightclub shooting in 2016.

A wall has shoeboxes featuring miniature altars created by second-grade students.

Saludes says many people leave feeling inspired to start this tradition with their own families.

The exhibit is open until November 7 and masks are mandatory.
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