Lines of people seemed to stretch on for miles outside of the Kern County Museum on Sunday. Families and individuals, both old and young, donned sugar skull makeup and wore traditional Mexican outfits to celebrate the Bakersfield Dia de los Muertos celebration presented by the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. 

Dia de los Muertos, is all about tradition and family, honoring loved ones and family members who have passed — through celebration. 

"We don't do the altars, but it's a big part of my culture and each year I remember those who I've lost," Lupe Sabella said. 

For some like Sabella, Dia de los Muertos means getting to share a part of her Mexican heritage with her children, who are four and six years old. 

"I want the kids to get involved with their heritage, they're half Filipino and half Hispanic," Sabella said. 

For others, like Patty Munoz, it's a chance to reflect on the good memories of ones they have lost.

Munoz said this year's Dia de Los Muertos was the first one she's attended in Bakersfield.

"It makes me feel close to my heritage, because I lost my mom this year," Munoz said. Munoz said while she wasn't born in Mexico, her mother was, and celebrating Dia de los Muertos made her feel close to her mom. 

A huge part of Dia de los Muertos is making altars for the deceased, adorned with photos, keepsakes and mementos of the deceased, as well as food offerings for the deceased. 

Brothers Kevin Cruz, 20, and Chris Cruz, 26, have made their first altar this year honoring their late brother, David Guadron. 

"Next week it will be one year that he's gone," Kevin Cruz said. Kevin Cruz said that part of the Dia de los Muertos is a bit sad, but seeing the community celebrate their lost loved ones is uplifting.

"I'm remembering what he gave us all," Kevin Cruz said. "Seeing everyone dressed up and colorful makes this brighter."

Chris Cruz said that while the event is a little sad for him, ultimately it's happy because of how it has unified his family on Sunday at the celebration. 

"It's just a little sad because he can't come home with us," Chris Cruz said. "But seeing him in all the pictures, smiling ear to ear, it makes it worthwhile."

This marks the second year the Dia de Los Muertos celebration has been at the Kern County Museum, in the past it has been held at the Bakersfield Museum of Art. 

According to the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, there was between 5,000 to 6,000 attendees, up from approximately 3,500 attendees last year. 

(1) comment


This would have been a great time for ICE to show up and round up a whole bunch of illegal invaders to send packing!

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