Papel picado, an altar, delicious food, and great company --what a wonderful way to bring week 6 to an end! Workers’ Connection took a break from its usual Saturday program at the Day Worker Center of Mountain View to celebrate an early Día de los Muertos. Participants in the program were kindly greeted at the door with besos and abrazos from María (the most wonderful and dedicated woman who runs the Center) and Marco (the Center’s backbone with the best and brightest smile). A warm welcome like this is nothing out of the ordinary at the Center --those who have been can attest! We then began decorating the Center by learning and eventually mastering (lol jk) how to make papel picado --a traditional Mexican folk art made from tissue paper commonly seen during el Día de los Muertos. As the Center’s attendees started showing up, we all began working together to create and string together the papel picado while also setting up the altar. A photo of a loved one who has passed was placed on the altar as per tradition, and throughout the upcoming week the workers who attend the Center will be adding pictures of their loved ones as well. Once we finished decorating, we came together to enjoy some delicious food --some of it traditional like pan de muerto and pan dulce and some of it not-so-traditional aka Little Caesars pizza.
Hearts happy and stomachs full, we shared stories and cultural traditions. One man from Venezuela highlighted the diversity of cultural traditions within his own family, explaining to us how on his mother’s side people honor deceased loved ones very traditionally via funerals, prayers, and the custom of andando de luto (wearing black for a specific amount of time in honor of the deceased). Conversely, his father’s side of the family would celebrate the loved one’s life by gathering together, drinking, and reminiscing. Another women from Puebla, México told us of traditions intrinsic to where she is from. When someone passes, the rest of the family stays up all night as people from the town visit the home and gift them food. Within 20 or 30 minutes of someone’s passing, another person will carry the news to the church which will then ring the bell in order to signify to God that this soul is ready to enter into heaven.
This is the first time in the Center’s 20 years that there has been a Día de los Muertos celebration, and we were very honored to be a part of it! Just like we had been discussing, tradition is so important to maintain and care for, and now we have started our own little tradition here at the Center.
Siguiendo nuestras tradiciones preparándonos para honrar a nuestros fieles difuntos en comunidad. Continuing our traditions to honor our deceased loved ones as a community.
This experience exemplifies Workers’ Connection’s mission of “learning about the lives, struggles, hopes, and respective cultures of those at the Day Workers Center of Mountain View”. This program has provided me and others the opportunity to be part of a beautiful community within which we can learn and grow while forming meaningful relationships. If you want to join us next time or would simply like more information on what we do, please contact me!
-Besos y abrazos,
Kimy Grandi Soriano
Worker's Connection Program Coordinator
Workers’ Connection regulars Bella Rios and Chris Alvarado having a great time making papel picado!
Michele Canny hanging some angelitos on the altar
Two regulars at the Day Worker Center organizing the cempasuchiles (marigolds) for the altar. These flowers are traditional to el Día de los Muertos.
Pictures of the altar as it was coming together.
Deep in conversation at the Center while enjoying some comida sabrosa!
Group photo of all the wonderful people at the celebration this past Sunday.
(Photos courtesy of Google Images, Bella Rios, María Marroquin, and the Day Worker Center of Mountain View Facebook page)