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East Tennessee celebrates Día de los Muertos at HOLA Hora Latina

Hola Hora Latina planned the Día de los Muertos event, and a Knoxvillian created his first ofrenda --explaining why it's important.

It’s one of the biggest celebrations in Central America, and on November 1 people from all over the world celebrate Día de los Muertos. 

This celebration honors people who have passed away, and this year Enrique Cruz, HOLA Hora Latina gallery manager and coordinator, created his first ofrenda, which is the altar. 

“It was very special," Cruz said. "It was very heartwarming.”

Cruz’s grandfather passed away last spring and his ofrenda includes him and his baby brother. He explained why this celebration means a lot. 

“We want to feel connected to our past and we want to feel like they're still present in our lives even though they can't physically be here,” Cruz said. 

Pedro Thomas, the president of HOLA Hora Latina, said this celebration initially started from the Aztecs and the Mayans, and then the Catholic Church came in with All Saints' Day, which was celebrated around the same time.

“So therefore, there goes the growth of in Central America of el Día de los Muertos,” Thomas said. 

This celebration varies among different cultures.

“I remember as a little boy, we had that in Cuba," Thomas said. "It's a little bit different because we didn't have the connection with the Aztecs and the Mayans.”

Thomas said this celebration can connect people, and even if they come from a different culture, HOLA Hora has its purpose.

“Through our mission is also to create bridges between our community and the community at large,” Thomas said.

This Friday in Knoxville, Thomas said everyone is invited to celebrate Día de los Muertos as well as one of the things that brings everyone together.

“To honor the dearly departed,” Thomas said.

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