Día de los Muertos, or “Day of the Dead,” is actually a celebration of life, a time for family and friends to honor those they have lost through prayer and joyful festivities.

On Saturday, Central Texas College and LULAC 4535 will host the third Calaveritas Festival in the parking lot of the Nursing Center on the college’s campus from noon to 9 p.m.

Calavera is the Spanish word for skull, a common symbol of Día de los Muertos.

“Oftentimes, food, such as sugar or chocolate skulls, is given as gifts for the holiday,” said Mariceli Vargas, CTC student life director.

The day is commonly celebrated in Latin and Hispanic cultures. People gather to pray, build altars and bring gifts to grave sites. Items placed on altars to the dead often include the favorite foods of the deceased.

“Instead of mourning their loss, the lives of the deceased are celebrated through parades, festivals, dancing, food and other celebratory manners,” Vargas said.

The date is in coordination with All Saints’ Day on Nov. 1 and All Souls’ Day on Nov. 2, both Catholic holidays.

The festival will hold song and dance performances, a costume contest and more. LULAC is the largest and oldest Hispanic organization in the country with more than 700 councils nationwide. Go to www.lulac4535.org or call 1-800-KILLEEN.

Contact Madison Lozano​ at mlozano@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7552.

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