MILWAUKEE — The largest Día de los Muertos alter in Wisconsin is full of photos, flowers, and color. It's located at Mexican Fiesta headquarters in Milwaukee at 2997 S. 20th St.
“We want our deceased - our ancestors - to come back to earth and have a little celebration with us. We want to celebrate their life and events in their life and things that they love to do here on earth," said Margarita Sandoval-Skare, a volunteer with Mexican Fiesta.
Día De Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is the Mexican tradition of honoring one's ancestors. In this particular altar, or ofrenda meaning offering, there are more than 60 photos of loved ones on display. People have also brought sombreros, guitars, and bread.
“You want to have items that remind you of that family member," Sandoval-Skare said.
These ofrendas are incredibly colorful and bright. There are no dull colors, and Día de los Muertos certainly isn't a grim occasion. While the holiday honors the dead, it's more so a celebration of life.
“We have to have all of this positive energy, so they know it’s time for them to come back to earth to give us a nice hello. A nice visit. Buenos dias. Buenos tardes. Buenos noches.”
The altar is open to the public. Anyone can come drop off a photo. It's the second time that Mexican Fiesta has opened their doors to this public ofrenda. One of their goals is to create a cultural exchange between people. This year, they said the altar was even bigger.
“So it’s all about sharing, so that we understand each other's culture. So we understand ethnicity. We understand race," Sandoval-Skare said.
Plus it keeps the tradition alive for future generations.
"It's very important that we pass down our traditions and our customs, so that our young people acknowledge their past and be proud of their past," Sandoval-Skare said.
The ofrenda is open Monday and Tuesday from 12-6 p.m.