Central Texas College and the local chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens hosted the second annual Calaveritas Festival on Friday on the college’s campus.

The festival, which began in the early afternoon in the courtyard between the Anderson Campus Center and the college’s student center, was held to celebrate Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).

The holiday is popular in many Latin and Hispanic cultures, as family and friends gather to remember friends and family members who have died.

The Día de los Muertos celebration takes place in conjunction with the Catholic holidays of All Saints’ Day on Nov. 1 and All Souls’ Day Nov. 2.

“It’s a way for people to remember where they came from, and to show respect to our elders and those who have passed on,” said Marriceli Vargas, a CTC employee who helped to organize the day’s festivities along with LULAC. “(The college) and LULAC wanted to welcome everyone to come by and celebrate with us.”

This year’s festival included a number of activities including traditional and contemporary song and dance performances, music, and costume contest. Vendors were also on hand, selling art and the ornately decorated sugar skulls commonly associated with Día de los Muertos festival.

An altar was also on display — a place where people could bring photos, artwork and sugar skulls, marigolds and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed or other items to honor deceased friends and relatives.

While the Día de los Muertos festival is most commonly associated with the Latin and Hispanic cultures, Vargas said many other cultures share a belief in the importance or remembering loved ones and friends who have died.

“Many other cultures have a strong sense of family, and honor those who have passed on.” she said.

For more information about the Calaveritas Festival or Día de los Muertos, go to www.lulac4535.org or call 1-800-KILLEEN.

Contact Chris McGuinness at chrism@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at ChrismKDH.

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