EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is coming up this week. It’s a holiday Where the spirits of the dead are believed to return home and spend time with their family and loved ones. First News at Nine’s Eleanor Bland shares how one local business is celebrating the holiday and bringing its culture to the community.
The Ice Cream and Bakery Shop, a Mexican family-owned business in Eau Claire, opened earlier this summer and now they are connecting with the community by having a celebration for a holiday that is important to their culture. Maya Aca-Martinez says, “I hope people understand more What the Day of the Dead means for us and what it is in general. I also hope that everybody has a good time today and learns a little bit more about the Mexican culture.”
To celebrate Day of the Dead, the shop re-created an altar they make for their deceased loved ones for community members to visit. Aca-Martinez explains, “We have the pictures, the food, the things that our loved ones will like. we do this because we want to celebrate our loved ones who passed. We want to celebrate with them when like if they were still alive. We do the flowers that you see on the floor. (That) represents as their pathway to come and see the altar that we made for them.”
Aca-Martinez says one reason they held this event was to showcase the Pan de Muerto. A type of sweet bread that is offered on the altar and is a staple to this Mexican holiday. She explains, “Many don’t know about the Pan de Muerto and we wanted to not just give out the Pan de Muerto, but also make a whole event involving the Pan de Muerto. And it’s just to show everybody about our culture again.”
One man brought his son to surround him more in his culture. Efren Martinez says, “I’m originally from Mexico, so we’re always looking in, you know, having fun in these kind of events that involve, you know, Mexican or Hispanic culture. I grew up over there, so, he obviously I think I don’t want him to miss, you know, all the traditions and culture that we have over there. coming to this kind of event is a way to keep in touch with that side.”
Dia De Los Muertos is an important day to Aca-Martinez because she feels closer to her passed loved ones, “It means a lot to me. It’s like a day I get to we could say, be with me, for example, my grandma, I can be with my grandma or for any pets that I’ve lost, I can be with them. It’s like a way to reconnect with them once again.”
The Day of the Dead is celebrated on November 1st through the 2nd.