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A diverse crowd of thousands turned out on Saturday to celebrate Dia de Los Muertos at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. This ancient Mexican holiday commemorates and honors friends and family members who have passed away with vibrant art, elaborate altars, music, dance and costumes. Many a face, both young and old, could be seen painted in the traditional skull motif that is synonymous with Day of the Dead.
The twelve hour event featured multi-cultural rituals and meditations of Mexican, Aztec, Mayan, Indian heritage, but the cornerstone of the event were the more than fifty altar exhibits. Most featured photos of deceased family members and totem objects - food, playing cards, baseball hats, bottles of Coca Cola, jewelry, etc. - synonymous with that individual. One such altar assembled around a tucked away gravestone off the cemetery's beaten path simply featured a garden's worth of flowers - hundreds of hydrangeas, sunflowers, carnations, roses and more, all in autumnal hues of yellow, orange and red. A single man, arranging them with care, explained that the grave was that of his two sons, who passed away in 2003 and 2007. "I do this," he said, "to celebrate my boys."
He seemed moved that so many Angelenos had come to celebrate with him.