To help make Day of the Dead more meaningful for people of all backgrounds, FamilySearch is launching a campaign Oct. 24–Nov. 2 with various activities to encourage everyone — whether they have Latin American heritage or not — to honor their ancestors.
“We want them to share that everyone deserves to be remembered,” said Lluvia Concha, who works on FamilySearch’s Latin America homelands team. “We want this to be a tool for people to share with their family and friends.”
The celebration kicks off on Sunday, Oct. 24, with a live broadcast about Day of the Dead traditions in Latin America. The event begins at 5 p.m. MDT on Facebook in Spanish and Portuguese and YouTube in Spanish and Portuguese (English viewers can watch on YouTube with automatic captioning).
- Oct. 25: My ancestors. Share photos and stories of your ancestors by saving them in the “Memories” section of FamilySearch.
- Oct. 26: Growing my family tree. Find and add your ancestors to your family tree.
- Oct. 27: Tell their story. Tell a story about one of your ancestors and preserve it forever.
- Oct. 28: Family heirlooms. Share the history and your memories of one of your precious family heirlooms.
- Oct. 29: My ancestor drawing. Draw a picture of an ancestor or write him or her a special letter.
- Oct. 30: My family’s recipe. Prepare one of your family’s traditional recipes and share its story.
- Oct. 31: A tribute to my ancestors. Create a special memorial to honor your ancestors for Day of the Dead.
- Nov. 1–2: Celebrate at home. Remember your ancestors by trying some of these simple activities in your own home.
Participants are also invited to post photos, stories and memories of their deceased loved ones on social media using #RememberMe (English), #MerecenSerRecordados (Spanish) or #MerecemSerRecordados (Portuguese).
A photo carousel on FamilySearch’s Day of the Dead webpage highlights traditions from several Latin American countries. For example, people in Mexico make “ofrendas” or altars to remember their deceased ancestors; in Guatemala giant kites are flown to symbolize the souls of the dead ascending to heaven; and people in El Salvador prepare “pan de muerto,” a sweet bread, to remember the sweetness of their ancestors’ memories.
One of Concha’s favorite activities during Day of the Dead is sharing her family heirlooms. She has a lamp on her bookshelf that belonged to her mother. “Having the lamp on is me remembering my mom working on something, writing in her journal or even working on her genealogy. … It’s having a piece of her with me,” she said.
“Even if they don’t have Latin American heritage,” Concha said of those who participate in the Day of the Dead activities, “I think it’s very important for everybody to remember their ancestors and just celebrate the life of their ancestors.”
Coinciding with Day of the Dead, ExpoGenealogía — an in-person and virtual family history event for Spanish speakers — will be held at the Pepsi Center WTC in Mexico City, Mexico, Oct. 29–30. Register for free at expogenealogia.mx.