Coachella — On November 1, the night before Día de los Muertos, hundreds descended upon Sixth Street to participate in the inaugural Run with Los Muertos 5K and enjoy the pre- and post-run festivities.
In addition to the run, the evening featured art, music, dancing, Día de los Muertos face painting, and traditional altars honoring the dead built by community members.
Día de los Muertos is a centuries-old Latino tradition celebrated on November 2, the Roman Catholic All Souls’ Day. Día de los Muertos is a time to honor the dead, not through mourning but through celebrating the person’s life.
Reporter Johnny Flores, Jr., asked community members what brought them out to the celebration.
“This is the first time I’m (preparing an altar)…The death of my parents is pretty recent, so it feels good to have a day where you celebrate life. It’s a happy day, not a sad day. You kind of forget a lot of things. It’s a good thing for my family and me. We’re celebrating life and you have an opportunity to share what they used to like. My dad was a tequila guy and my mom liked rum. They liked pan dulce, flowers, and used to cook a lot of pumpkins. It’s a good feeling for me.”
-Maria Arcos, Coachella Senior Center
“I’m running for my parents, Angel and Loreto Cota. I’m running in their honor because they were my pride and joy…they were my parents. My dad recently passed away on July 30 of this year, and my mom passed away three years ago in February. It’s because of them that I am running.”
-Loretta Cota, teacher
“This altar is for farm workers who passed away because of pesticides, sexual assault, or domestic violence. We are an organization fighting for female farm workers rights and this altar represents those who have worked in the fields and have passed away.”
-Ramona Felix, Lideres Campesinas
“We created (miniature cemetery) to honor those who died trying to come to the United States for a better life and more opportunities. They died because of hunger and thirst and couldn’t make it to this country. This cemetery honors their journey.”
“(My cousin) took his own life in August, and I want to run (to bring) awareness so that people don’t have to resort to that…there is always someone out there that is willing to talk to them and is willing to bring them up.”
“I’m not really running for anyone. I saw it (the event) and ever since I retired, I sort of made up my mind that I wasn’t going to get bored. So I look for activities, and I try to fill in just about every weekend, whether its a run, biking event, triathlon, or golf tournament.”
-Roger Myers, retiree
“(My grandmother) meant a lot to me. She just taught me a lot of stuff. She was a happy person, and I liked to be around her. She was also very supportive of everything I did.”
More event photos here.