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OKLAHOMA CITY (Free Press) — A crowd estimated to be in the thousands attended the celebration of the Mexican tradition Dia de los Muertos at Scissortail Park in Downtown OKC Sunday.

Scissortail Park and Tango PR hosted the event sponsored by Supermercados Morelos.

The whole festival was centered around honoring and remembering the dead.

The attendees could choose from more than 20 vendors and over 10 food trucks which mainly offered Hispanic food, drinks, and goods. 

The program for the day included 12 performances on stage, a low riders cruise, a catrinas contest (people who paint their faces as skulls), alejibres parade (pets dressed as fantastical or mythical creatures), a kids recreational area, and over 13 ofrendas.

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Elika Hernandez and Austin Box are chatting by the vendor alley in the Dia de los Muertos Festival 2021. (PABLO ANGULO GONZALEZ/Okla City Free Press)


One of the main ways in which people traditionally celebrate the dead is by setting up the ofrenda. 

The ofrenda – or offering – is basically an altar on which multiple objects are set with the intention of remembering, attracting, and taking care of the dead.

The ofrenda is an important part of the Dia de los Muertos because it lures the deceased souls and guides their way back into the realm of the living, according to the Mexican tradition rooted in Aztec culture.

Since the dead are welcome to share a day with the living, these altars usually have photos of the deceased, their favorite foods, drinks, objects, and flowers.

Pan de muerto, which is bread usually shaped in the form of bones or phalanges, fruits, candles, tequila, marigold flowers, and photos or images are commonly found on ofrendas as a tribute to the deceased.

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Alejandro Lopez and Jennifer Melchor pose next to the Rose State College ofrenda. The ofrenda had photos of various celebrities including the famous Mexican comedian Roberto Bolaños, the notorious Cuban salsa singer Celia Cruz, and Pancho Villa. (PABLO ANGULO GONZALEZ/Okla City Free Press)

Setting up ofrendas is a ceremonial way in which the living can honor, remember and take care of the dead.

Alejandro Lopez set up an ofrenda at the entrance of the Scissortail Park alongside his teammates from the Rose State College Hispanic Student Association.

“I came here today to honor my uncle who recently passed away and he is the reason I play soccer,” Lopez told the Free Press.

He said the day of the dead is a day to honor the people that you care about.


Austin Box and Elika Hernandez have celebrated the Dia de los Muertos for over three years in Oklahoma City and were astonished at the growth of the event through the years.

Box is an OKC local and was surprised to see the magnitude and diversity of the celebration.

Box told Free Press that it is very cool and encouraging to experience a Mexican tradition celebrated by over 5 thousand people from multiple backgrounds in the Downtown area of OKC.

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Raquel Mendiola sings while wearing a Frida Kahlo dress on the stage of Scissortail Park during the Dia de los Muertos celebration. (PABLO ANGULO-GONZALEZ/Okla City Free Press)

“I can see how validated and represented the Hispanic community of OKC can feel,” Box told us.

Elika Hernandez, a Guatemalan living in OKC, attended the Dia de los Muertos and was surprised to see a marimba Chapina or Guatemalan marimba being played at a traditionally Mexican celebration.

“Seeing a Chapin marimba in a traditionally Mexican event while drinking Manzana Postobon soda-pop from Colombia in Downtown OKC feels a little bit like home,” Hernandez said.

Kari Wilder and Aron Newton are Oklahoma residents and attended the Dia de los Muertos celebration for the first time.

“Inclusivity is getting much better in OKC,” Wilder told us.

“The culture has always been here in Oklahoma and we are now accepting it and enjoying it,” said Newton. 

“They are celebrating their dead ancestors and the fact this is a happy experience is what I enjoyed the most,” said Wilder.

“Put yourself in other people’s cultures. Experience them and grow in them,” said Newton.

“That is the only way in which we are going to grow as humans, I think. Not necessarily as Oklahomans or Americans but as an entire world. Be accepting, come out and experience other cultures and their point of view,” said Wilder.  

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“Marimba Estrella Chapina” performs during the Day of the Dead Festival in Downtown OKC. (PABLO ANGULO-GONZALEZ/Okla City Free Press)
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IDanz Senior Team dances during the Day of the Dead Festival in Oklahoma City. (PABLO ANGULO-GONZALEZ/Okla City Free Press)
The ofrendas have multiple offerings to the dead like candles, flowers, fruits and photos. (PABLO ANGULO-GONZALEZ/Okla City Free Press)
Dia de los Muertos
Marimba Chapin or Guatemalan Marimba from the Guatemalan musical group “Marimba Estrella Chapina”. (PABLO ANGULO-GONZALEZ/Okla City Free Press)

Last Updated October 31, 2021, 9:27 PM by Brett Dickerson – Editor