Latinos across Iowa are holding celebrations today and tomorrow to honor their loved ones and ancestors who have died. The events are called “Day of the Dead” and are not sad wakes, but they’re designed to be festive remembrances of those who are no longer with us. One such celebration is planned at the Des Moines Art Center where Mike Crall is spokesman.He says the altar they’re building in the lobby features 16-foot-tall skeletons and a beautiful bouquet of colors. Crall says this tradition dates back to pre-Aztec and pre-Columbian times in Mexico. He says people of Latino decent all across Iowa are marking the time of year today and tomorrow in what’s a sort of combination of Halloween and All Saints Day. He says people build altars in their homes, decorate graves, hold festivities in cemeteries, set out food and drink, gifts and pictures — all welcoming back the souls of those who have died. Crall says it’s not a dismal dirge in the least.Tomorrow’s celebration at the Arts Center runs from 1 to 4 P.M.
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