In Old Town San Diego, people came from far and wide Tuesday to experience a large-scale celebration of Dia de los Muertos.
It's a holiday that honors ancestors and loved ones through altars, or “ofrendas" in Spanish.
For Chula Vista’s Melissa Rocha, she paid tribute to her ancestors through music and dance.
“The outfit is actually ballet folklórico, which is mainly Mexican dance,” Rocha said of her green, white and red dress. “And the face painting is definitely for Dia de los Muertos.”
The holiday features lots of marigolds, pictures of family members, painted skulls and skeletons to honor the dead.
Dia de los Muertos traces its earliest roots to the Aztec people and it’s officially celebrated on Nov. 1 and 2.
Dania Vargas and her mother drove all the way from Escondido to see the Old Town altars in-person.
“Even though we embrace it at home, it's nice to have a place where we can come gather and embrace those traditions — those Mexican traditions for us,” Vargas said. “It means we are closer to our loved ones.”
Whether in San Diego, or across the border in Mexico, many people celebrate in a similar way, according to Monique Oviedo.
“It's like taking a piece from where you were from, and bringing it here to where you now live,” she said.
Oviedo works at her mother's business — Amore Leather — in Old Town. She said the main focus of the holiday is on family.
“It means a lot to me because we get to remember the people who are closest to us. And it's nice to see other people learn about our culture, respectfully, and that feels really good,” Oviedo said.
While many families celebrate the holiday at home, public Dia de los Muertos celebrations continue in Old Town Wednesday with other events scheduled around the county.