LYNNWOOD — Every year when she lived in Mexico, on the first or second of November, Julieta Altamirano Crosby would go to the cemetery with her cousins.
They could eat there and reminisce about their departed family members for Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead.
Fast-forward to 2012 and her daughter, Daniela, was attending Olympic View Middle School in Mukilteo.
Altamirano Crosby volunteered there as the sort of liaison to the Latinx community. In that role, families of Mexican descent told her they wanted the school to host a Día de los Muertos event.
That was Altamirano Crosby’s first time hosting such a gathering.
Ten years later, she and Daniela helped organize a Día de los Muertos event Saturday at the Lynnwood Convention Center, drawing hundreds, some dressed as catrinas, or skeletons. The Washington-Guerrero Foundation sponsored the lively celebration featuring contests for calaveritas literarias, satirical poems honoring a late loved one, and catrinas.
Silvia Rodriguez won the contest Saturday for best catrina. Her dress was made only of recyclable materials, including a cardboard hat and paper marigolds. It took her three months to make. She said the point was to remind attendees about the importance of attacking climate change.
It was the first time Rodriguez participated in the Lynnwood celebration. She appreciated the opportunity to show kids of Mexican heritage the culture they may miss out on in the United States.
“This shows them their roots,” she said.
Locals set up ofrendas, or altars, around the convention center. One was for American veterans. Kamiak High School students set up another, said Altamirano Crosby. A lengthy community altar greeted attendees as they entered.
Alejandra Wood always sets up an ofrenda for her grandparents and others at her home in Lynnwood. This was her first time doing it in public.
The altars were adorned with items meaningful to those who passed away.
Wood’s had Pulparindo candies and Don Julio, in honor of a grandparent with a tequila distillery. There was a dog treat for her first pooch.
Altamirano Crosby, a Lynnwood City Council member, also has an ofrenda in her home every year.
“It’s sad, but we die when people forget,” she said. “We’re still alive when people remember.”
Lynnwood’s event is one of several celebrating Día de los Muertos in Snohomish County.
In Edmonds, the waterfront center is hosting an event Thursday from 6:30-8:30 p.m.
And in Everett, the community college’s diversity and equity center will celebrate in the Russell Day Gallery on Tuesday and Wednesday from 2-4 p.m.
Jake Goldstein-Street: 425-339-3439; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @GoldsteinStreet.
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