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Well before 4 p.m. on Oct. 28, the Levy Center was set for a celebration: from a colorful ofrenda , skeletons clad in formal dress – oh, and one in a Chicago Cubs’ jersey – looked over a cross-shaped carpet of purple and yellow flowers into the auditorium filled with people who had come to celebrate El Dia de Muertos, the Day of the Dead. Despite its name, the holiday, Nov. 2, is a joyous remembrance of loved ones.
Toward the back of the auditorium, adults and children worked with plastic skulls, stickers, paper and other supplies to create their own ofrendas – or altars – to commemorate loved ones. Many fashioned marigolds out of tissue paper. The marigold, sometimes called the Flower of the Dead (Flor de Muerto) is thought to attract the souls of the dead to these offerings.
Musicians from the Chicago Academy of Mexican Dance and Music played songs and explained their significance to the holiday and the culture. Volunteers from The Big Draw were on hand to help those who wished to create their own pictures rather than using the preprinted ones provided.