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Ofrenda offers space for families to remember loved ones during Day of the Dead festivities

The ofrenda on display at St. Cecelia's Cathedral honors the lives of 43 people who've passed away but are remembered by loved ones
Posted at 9:37 AM, Nov 01, 2022

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Inside St. Cecilia Cathedral lies an ofrenda where those who’ve passed on are remembered.

Ofrenda installations are a staple of Day of the Dead or Dia de los Muertos celebrations.

Josè Chato-Garcìa is the general director of the Mexican American Historical Society of the Midlands. He and his wife Linda started the Ofrenda where people have offered photos and keepsake items to help tell their story.

“Some men will see tequila,” Chato-Garcìa said. “Some women will see a plate of mole that they’ve made for their families all their lives.”

Ofrendas come in many different sizes. Smaller ones are used to remember family members or even pets.

Linda said ofrendas don’t have to be elaborate — all that’s needed is a picture of a deceased loved one and an item they loved.

Chato-Garcìa shared the personal connection to the ofrenda at the cathedral — it features his mother who died when he was six.

“She is the one that has empowered the work that I do using tradition and culture,” Chato-Garcìa said.

It’s a culture the Garcias hope to spread this time of year by celebrating the universal meaning of the holiday.

A number of events have been planned to celebrate Day of the Dead in Omaha. Performances of verbal ofrendas will start Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at the MCC South Campus, admission is free.

Another performance will be held Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at the Benson Theater. General admission $10. The public is allowed to contribute to the ofrenda at St. Cecelia’s as well as another in Boys Town until Sunday, Nov. 6.

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