BOISE, Idaho — Day of the Dead, or Día de Los Muertos, is an essential celebration in Mexico, dating back thousands of years before Spanish settlers arrived. It has become a blend of Catholic and Mexican traditions celebrated to commemorate death as another element of life and to remember and honor loved ones.
"It means that I feel closer to my parents and closer to my loved ones, and I want to believe they are with me today," said Mary Smith.
Mary Smith continued her grandmother's tradition when her parents passed away in 2016. Every year her alter has grown. She now places an ofrenda for her parents and 12 loved ones.
“Friends of mine saying, can you put a picture of my mom? Meaning it's a sad moment for them because it's loved once lost. But for me, it just makes me feel a little bit closer because I want to believe that my parents will cross just to be with us in spirit this day,” said Mary Smith.
With the rise of the Latino population in the U.S. and the popularity of the Disney film Coco, more educators are teaching the history of Día de Los Muertos.
“It's for the understanding of another culture to understand the way other people celebrate and start thinking what’s important and that are different than you,” said Justin Brune, Foothill School Teacher.
Jump has alters placed throughout their building put together by different organizations, schools, and staff. Which has attracted many admirers to stop by.
“Just the amount of time and effort that is dedicated to our past loved ones has been great to see. The different schools in the area that have been creating and learning about the culture, ” said Johanna Darr.
During Día de Los Muertos, it's believed that loved ones' spirits pass over to the real world and celebrate with family members in the real world.