The Evolving Nature of Día de Los Muertos and Honoring the Dead

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A Dia de los Muertos altar is decorated with candles and flowers. (iStock)

Día de los Muertos or Day of the Dead, is an ancient tradition that started with indigenous people in the Americas, morphed when Catholics arrived, and has seen a resurgence in recent decades in California. This year, the Los Angeles Times set up a virtual Día de Los Muertos altar to create a community space to honor loved ones who have passed. The virtual altar is a reflection of the pandemic, which pushed many traditions online, and an example of  how the Latin American tradition of honoring the dead has evolved over time.  We discuss the practice of honoring the dead as well as cultural and personal connections to Día de los Muertos. And, we want to hear from you: tell us about someone who you are honoring this year. Leave us a voicemail at 415-553-3300 or email us at


Michelle Téllez, associate professor, University of Arizona's Department of Mexican American Studies

Fidel Martinez, audience engagement editor, Los Angeles Times and a co-creator of the LA Times' digital Día de Muertos altar