Chapel of the Holy Cross Catholic Church in Albertville will host their annual altar event Oct. 31 in celebration of Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead.
Father Raul Bedoya says the majority of his parishioners are Mexican and Guatemalan, which led to the church’s tradition of celebrating the Mexican holiday.
"They have this beautiful tradition, the Day of the Dead, and then they told me four years ago, 'why don’t we start with that tradition by paying homage to our deceased?'" Bedoya said.
The Day of the Dead coincides with the Christian holy days of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, which Bedoya says the church recognizes with special altars called "ofrendas" to honor lost loved ones.
The event will begin at 6 p.m. with a mass, followed by a visit of all of the altars organized by community members. Bedoya says these altars are a collaborative effort by family members to honor the deceased and no two altars are the same.
"This altar becomes like a place of veneration, a place of respect for them," Bedoya said.
Traditionally, altars include candles, pictures of the deceased and their favorite foods. Bedoya asks that each group bring non-perishable food items for the event, so that extra food can be given to families in need.
Bedoya says that this celebration is very important for the community, especially for those who have deceased relatives in other countries.
"The Day of the Dead is like a combination of smells, colors, flavors and music that harmonizes precisely in such a perfect way for that moment to receive those that are no longer with us, to remember those who are no longer with us, so that they know that we miss them," Bedoya said.
For more information, visit the Chapel of the Holy Cross Facebook page.