Day of the Dead comes to life in Bloomington
Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a widely observed holiday in Mexico from Nov. 1-2. A Bloomington family has brought the celebration to their community in Bloomington.
Bloomington resident Miriam Padilla designed and built an ofrenda installation to celebrate Day of the Dead on Wednesday at the McLean County Museum of History. Padilla said this is the third year she has put on a Day of the Dead event.
“It’s important for me to not lose my traditions,” said Padilla, who is from Mexico. “It’s important to increase and grow this tradition in the children to represent the love in the family, the friends and the community.”
Padilla said she has been celebrating Day of the Dead since she was a child.
“I remember as a child my mom was in the kitchen with the smell of tamales and mole," she said.
Typically, said Padilla, families eat the favorite food of their loved ones who have passed away. Traditional foods include: Pan de muerto, tamales, mole, candy, chocolate, and enchiladas.
Padilla said she loves everything about Day of the Dead, but her favorite part has to be the monarch butterflies on the ofrenda.
“They represent the souls of the people who passed away,” Padilla said. “Normally in Mexico you are given one butterfly when someone dies.”
The most difficult part of putting together a Day of the Dead celebration is the time, said Padilla. Constructing and designing all the pieces for the event takes up a lot of time.
What is unique about the celebration this year, said Padilla, is that she got to set up her Day of the Dead Barbie collection. The first Barbie is from 2019 and Padilla said she has been building her collection since then.
Padilla said she wanted to create a relaxing environment for the Day of the Dead event. People could view an exhibition, put photos on the ofrenda, do crafts and listen to music.
Having this celebration each year, Padilla said, reminds her of celebrating Day of the Dead back in Mexico where people gathered, enjoyed and celebrated the dead with love and had a fun time.
Day of the Dead is celebrated Nov. 1-2 to pay respects for loved ones who have died.