Day of the Dead altar created at Minnesota Capitol for the first time

Day of the Dead altar created at Minnesota Capitol for the first time
Day of the Dead altar created at Minnesota Capitol for the first time

For the first time in state history, a Day of the Dead altar stands in the Minnesota State Capitol to honor the Mexican holiday.

In partnership with the Minnesota Council on Latino Affairs (MCLA) and (Neo) Muralismos de Mexico, artists Monica Vega and Flor Soto created the first-ever Altar de Muertos, or community altar, in the Capitol.

“It takes your breath away to see this community come together in such a powerful place,” said Jessica Oasaca, a participant.

Some compare Day of the Dead to a family reunion, but deceased loved ones are the guest of honor.

“As someone who grew up partly in Mexico, these ofrendas (offerings) are really about remembering the memories we had with our loved ones,” Oasaca said.

A Day of the Dead altar is featured at the Minnesota State Capitol on November 1, 2022. This marks the first time a community altar has been installed at the Capitol. (KSTP-TV)

It is not a sad holiday, but rather a joyful one.

Altars have been around for thousands of years, but having one on display in the Minnesota State Capitol is a first.

“This is an opportunity to shout that we (Latinos) are here. Let’s not forget that we are here,” said Flor Soto in Spanish.

Vega and Soto brought the community altar to life.

“My father died when I was 14, he was 40. He taught me how to make an altar at home,” Vega said.

Artists filled the community altar with photos of those who died.

Colorful calaveras (skulls) covered the area symbolizing life after death.

Marigolds, the Day of the Dead flower, light up the room and guide souls to the altar.

“We’re here today to show the world how amazing our traditions are,” Vega said.

“I am so proud to see that we are finally moving in the right direction of our culture and our traditions,” added Debbie Luna, a participant.

Participants said that the Latin American culture displayed in full view of the state honored both the dead and the living.

“I think it’s important for people to recognize that we’re here, our cultures are here and they matter and they’re important,” Oasaca said.

The altar will be on display at the Capitol until November 13. Below is the governor’s Dia de los Muertos proclamation.

. Lautel day of the dead created Capitol Minnesota for first time

. Day Dead altar created Minnesota Capitol time

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