KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Mattie Rhodes Center is getting ready to celebrate its 24th annual Día de los Muertos celebration.
Traditionally, Day of the Dead is celebrated Nov. 1-2, but the Mattie Rhodes Center will be opening up an exhibit in honor of this Hispanic tradition featuring ofrendas, or altars, put together by KC families starting 5 p.m. Oct. 7.
Fourteen families were chosen to put together an altar honoring their loved ones. The Munoz family decided to honor the brother and mother they lost to COVID-19.
“It's special because this is exactly what they would want. I think [they] would want us to do this together,” Deanna Munoz said. "Sometimes we try not to get emotional, but I think this is good.”
For decades, the Mattie Rhodes Center has given families the space to bring this part of their Hispanic culture to the heart of the historic Westside Neighborhood.
Although loved ones may be gone, Día de lost Muertos celebrates the return of their spirits to Earth. Ofrendas are united in tradition with each altar displaying items that represent the four elements (Earth, wind fire, water), sugar skulls, cempasúchil flowers and religious symbols.
“If a person can incorporate many of the traditional symbols and elements that can go in their altar, that's great,” said Jenny Mendez with Mattie Rhodes. “They don't have to do every single thing.”
Celebrations vary throughout the world, but KC’s take on this tradition continues to grow. Mattie Rhodes is inviting everyone to be part of their community altar this year.
“I think this is just a great way for families to come together and bring like the cars and special things,” Munoz said. “It’s a way just to come together and put it in one place.”
The exhibit will run through Friday, Nov. 4.