Day of the Dead expanding in the U.S.; read 5 common Dia De Los Muertos

POSTED: 03:57 PM MDT Nov 01, 2013    UPDATED: 03:59 PM MDT Nov 01, 2013 

2011 Dia De Los Muertos Story

ALBUQUERQUE - Growing up in South Texas, Kiko Torres saw the Day of the Dead as an obscure holiday celebrated in southern Mexico. Few people dared to discuss it in his small but strong Catholic, Mexican-American community.

Still, Torres said he became fascinated by Day of the Dead folk art and ceremonies he saw during his father's research trips to Mexico. Those images of dancing skeleton figurines and the event's spiritual messages of honoring the dead, he said, were misunderstood in the United States.

"People here thought it was something to be scared of or evil," said Torres.

But that's changing. In the last decade or so, this traditional Latin American holiday with indigenous roots has spread throughout the U.S. along with migration from Mexico and other countries where it is observed. Not only are U.S.-born Latinos adopting the Day of the Dead, but various underground and artistic non-Latino groups have begun to mark the Nov. 1-2 holidays through colorful celebrations, parades, exhibits and even bike rides and mixed martial arts fights.

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