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'We're Still Here': Cache Valley Latinos Show Community's Resiliency Through Day Of The Dead Event

Parade marchers head toward the camera wearing colorful costumes.
Sean Greene for KUER

This weekend, Latinos across the world are celebrating Día de los Muertos or Day of the Dead. It’s a holiday where people honor and remember their deceased loved ones.

Celebrated on Nov. 1-2, the holiday originated in Mexico. People believe that during this period, the spirits of the dead temporarily come back to the land of the living.

But for Latino residents living in Cache Valley, the holiday has taken on a deeper meaning — it’s become an opportunity to show the resiliency of their community.

Costumed marchers lead a parade through campus.
Credit Sean Greene for KUER

Utah State University Associate Professor Crescencio López González, 49, and his wife Christina are dressed as el catrín and la catrina, skeleton-like characters which have become popular Day of the Dead symbols. They are meant to represent wealthy people who assume that death can’t touch them. 

Women with painted faces and floral headbands walk in the parade.
Credit Sean Greene for KUER

Participants of the Friday Day of the Dead celebration through the Utah State University campus were encouraged to wear traditional Day of the Dead outfits that can include traditional Mexican clothing and calavera face paint that resembles a skeleton.  


A man wearing a large skeleton make and top hat.
Credit Rocio Hernandez / KUER

Crescencio López González is an associate professor at Utah State University who helped organize Logan’s first Day of the Dead celebration in 2015. Here he wears a papier-mache mask of a catrín, a common Dead of the Dead symbol.   

A woman designs sugar skulls at a table.
Credit Rocio Hernandez / KUER

Daniella López, 11, decorates sugar skulls in her family’s Logan home as they prepare their altar, ahead of the Day of the Dead celebration. The sugar skulls will be used to decorate the altar that they made to honor their deceased loved ones.

Man decorates ofrenda with floral sheets.
Credit Rocio Hernandez / KUER

Crescencio López González places ‘manteles’ — white and cream colored tablecloths — on his family’s altar. Some of the mantales were hand stitched by his mom and his wife’s mom, which he says makes them particularly meaningful.

Family stands in front of altar decorated for day of the dead.
Credit Rocio Hernandez / KUER

Crescencio Lopez Gonzalez stands with his family and friends in front of the altar they have built for the celebration. They will spend the holiday together with family, telling stories about their deceased loved ones

Mother holds baby and looks at colorful altar.
Credit Rocio Hernandez / KUER

Lizette Cruz stands with her infant in front of the altar she constructed at The Family Place counseling service in Logan where she works. The altar includes photos of community members’ deceased relatives.

Rocio is coming to KUER after spending most of her life under the blistering Las Vegas sun and later Phoenix. She earned bachelor’s degrees in journalism and Spanish at the University of Nevada, Reno. She did brief stints at The Associated Press, the Las Vegas Review-Journal and Reno Public Radio. She enjoys wandering through life with her husband and their toy poodle.
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