Day of the Dead is celebrated at the graves of Ramones, Burt Reynolds, Judy Garland and more

Janan Beltran spent five hours on makeup to become an elegant La Catrina. (Photo: Chimela Peter / Special for Cronkite News)

Janan Beltran won the Best Costume Award for her performance of La Catrina, whose face is omnipresent in Dia de los Muertos. (Photo: Chimela Peter / Special for Cronkite News)

Children participate in the Dia de los Muertos procession at Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles on October 29. (Photo: Chimela Peter / Special for Cronkite News)

Thousands attended the Dia de Lost Muertos procession in Hollywood Forever. (Photo: Chimela Peter / Special for Cronkite News)

Keith Childress was one of over 80 people who raised altars during the ceremony. (Photo: Chimela Peter / Special for Cronkite News)

Kimmy Bevly attends the Dia de los Muertos Hollywood Forever celebration. (Photo: Chimela Peter / Special for Cronkite News)

The largest altar at the last weekend’s celebrations is dedicated to Maria Sabina. (Photo: Chimela Peter / Special for Cronkite News)

Louis Offer gets into its own rhythm at the Hollywood Forever party. (Photo: Chimela Peter / Special for Cronkite News)

Lucia Escalante with her altar of Día de los Muertos. He has been coming to the Hollywood Forever party for 19 years. (Photo: Chimela Peter / Special for Cronkite News)

LOS ANGELES – Day of the Dead may sound grim, but in this city of angels, there’s an opportunity to play with deceased movie stars.

Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, draws thousands every year to Hollywood Forever, a graveyard in the heart of Los Angeles’s movie district. It is the final resting place, to name just a few, Burt Reynolds, Judy Garland, Rudolph Valentino, gangster “Bugsy” Siegel and punk frontman Johnny Ramone – all just 6 feet away (or should we say under?).

Dia de los Muertos is traditionally celebrated on Tuesday and Wednesday; last Saturday was the celebration at Hollywood Forever.

“It is a celebration of the life and traditions of Mexico and Latin America that go back to the Aztec and Mayan times,” said Angie Jimenez, director of the cemetery altar program. “Instead of a discouraging moment, it’s a celebration of life.”

Companies and Families have created more than 80 altars for relatives of the deceased, adorning them with photographs, decorations, and the deceased’s favorite items such as cigars, baseball team memorabilia and tequila bottles. They hoped that even after their death, their family members could return and enjoy the tribute for one day a year.

Families, many Hispanics, dressed as skeletons with colorful costumes and vivid makeup. Many of the thousands in attendance danced, marigold petals decorated the paths, and the smell of incense filled the air, inviting the dead souls to return.

Women parade in colorful, flowing national costumes at the Hollywood Forever celebrations. (Photo: Chimela Peter / Special for Cronkite News)

Lucia Escalante has been creating the altar for this event for 19 years. She started when her stepson died, but has grown over time to pay tributes to other family members and friends. For her, the event is time shared with loved ones.

“I really like making an altar. I have friends and family to help me with this. I have made a lot of friends who come back and see me every year, ”she said.

For Janan Beltran, winning this year’s Best Dressed Competition has a special meaning that he has in his heart.

“Three years ago my husband died of stage 4 colon cancer. I just want to honor him and continue his memory, ”she said.

Wherever she went, she attracted crowds – as a result of the five-hour makeup process that turned her into La Catrina – a stylish skeleton wearing a fancy hat and one of the most recognizable symbols of the day. She became a living skeleton, dressed in traditional clothes and painted from head to toe with green makeup.

“When I became Catrina,” said Beltran, “I feel like a metamorphosis. I am calm, I am Zen. I feel connected with all those who come to celebrate their loved ones. “

Saturday’s celebration attracted a large group of people to honor their loved ones.

“It’s important to remember the loved ones we’ve lost,” said Wendy Aguilar. “That’s why we celebrate. We don’t see it as a sad event, we want to remember how they lived. ‘

The celebration gained more popularity around the world, thanks in part to the Pixar film “Coco”. The story is about 12-year-old Miguel, who is transferred to the land of the dead and meets his ancestors.

Arizona people will also have the opportunity to celebrate. Day of the Dead celebrations will be held at locations such as Phoenix’s Desert Botanical Garden, Mesa Arts Center, Tempe, Chandler, and Vista Center in Surprise. Many of the celebrations include Mexican folklore dances.

See Janan Baltran’s costume in 3D

Janan Beltran became this year’s winner of the Best Dressed Competition with her performance “La Catrina”. See her costume in 3D.

Explore some of the altars at Dios De Los Muertos on WebXR

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