Historic Dia de los Muertos celebration in small Valley town

Alyssa Flores Image
Thursday, November 3, 2022
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Hundreds of people of all beliefs and backgrounds made the trip from all over the state to take part in the Hornitos celebration that dates back almost 120 years.

HORNITOS, Calif. (KFSN) -- Dia de los Muertos is a Mexican holiday rooted in the Catholic faith.

Hundreds of people of all beliefs and backgrounds made the trip from all over the state to take part in the Hornitos celebration that dates back almost 120 years.

"I think that everybody can relate to what this day signifies," says Mayra Navarrete.

Navarrete is back this year with her parents, celebrating culture and remembering loved ones lost.

"My friend, DJ, he is one of those people in your life that really makes you slow down," she said. "He left a huge hole in my heart."

Mariachi Arturo Barajas says he thinks of his late mother, father and brother as he plays Mexican songs on his guitar.

"Decedents of many of the historical families that lived in this community, they come back," he said. "They are the ones that keep the tradition still here."

As the darkness fell, only church bells could be heard during the procession meant to mimic the journey from life into death and the next life.

Father Steve and Father Rudy led the way up the hill lined with candelarias to St. Catherine's Church and cemetery.

The procession ended in prayer surrounding the grave of Dona Candelaria de Sapien, keeper of the Mexican Dia de los Muertos tradition in Hornitos. She died in 1903.

"You would think that a place like this would be spooky, but it's not," says Poppy McCready. "It's comforting."

McCready left her candle and flowers at the grave of her friend, Tammy Turner, who lived in Hornitos her whole life where her memory lives on.