Conexiones Latinas de McLean County

Conexiones Latinas de McLean County

We are a non-profit organization consisting of volunteers who share a passion for improving and creating opportunities for Latino families in Bloomington-Normal and McLean County (Illinois).

Somos una organización sin ánimo de lucro formado por voluntarios que comparten una pasión por la mejora y la creación de oportunidades para las familias latinas en Bloomington-Normal y el condado de McLean (Illinois).

On November 2, 2013, Conexiones Latinas helped launch an inaugural event in Bloomington-Normal to observe Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) at the Children's Discover Museum (Normal). On November 1 2015 we attended the  3rd annual event and the Ballet Folklorico performed, if you would like to get involved or have feedback from last year's event please let us know.

 2013: Click Here for our Bilingual Flier

El Día de los Muertos was a family event and included
• Hands-on arts and craft activities
• Bilingual story time
• Traditional music

Attendance was free with paid Museum admission or tickets were available for purchase at the Museum. Some community tickets were made available through Conexiones Latinas and our community partners for families in need.

There was also:

  1. Día de los Muertos Service at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington Normal
  2. McLean County Museum of History Exhibit, Activities and Panel Discussion

To learn more about this Latin holiday visit: A Brief History of Día de los Muertos for Children, excerpt:

The History

Día de los Muertos is a very old Mexican tradition when people take the time to remember family members and friends who have died. Today, it is traditionally celebrated on November 1st and 2nd. 

Because it is colorful and joyful, it is now celebrated by more and more people around the world.

Mexicans begin to get ready for the holiday about a week before Nov. 1. Panaderías (bakeries) are filled with pan de muertos (bread of the dead), and florists sell out of every kind of flower, especially the cempasúchil. Stores are filled with sugar skulls (calaveras) of every size, and museums proudly display their exhibits of skeleton figurines dressed as mariachis or everyday workers, such as plumbers, taxi drivers, or doctors.

The Altar

In the days leading up to the holiday, each family creates a beautiful altar, sometimes referred to as an ofrenda, in their home. The altars are carefully decorated and covered in gifts. The altar is constructed with at least three levels. It is lovingly decorated by all family members with pictures of the loved ones that are being remembered.

Gifts of water, flowers, candles, and more may be placed on the altar. Each item has symbolic value. Some of the deceased's favorite foods and other items may also be included to honor their memory or recall their habits.

Calaveras

Calaveras, or skulls, can be placed on the altar as decoration. Sugar skulls, especially, have become quite popular. As their name suggests, these little skulls are made of sugar and taste like candy. They are usually decorated with icing to make them more fun and colorful. Not only are they great for decorating, but they are also yummy to eat. Smashing it with your fist and eating the shattered pieces is a way of showing that you've conquered death, if only symbolically. 

The calaveras are often misunderstood by people who do not know the history of the holiday. The skulls are not intended to be scary, but rather symbolic: The skull represents the death of the body or the passing away of the person, and the decorative designs represent the beauty of their life.

Miniature skulls and skeletons, therefore, are not thought to be scary and are often left as toys for the deceased or to poke fun at death.

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