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Karen Sala

Karen Sala

Time to honor the dear departed

By Karen Sala

Your correspondent in Gage Park

(773) 471-1429 • [email protected]

The Day of the Dead or Día de los Muertos is not really one day. It starts on Halloween, Oct. 3, and ends on All Souls Day, Nov. 2. Hispanic people mourn the passing of their loved ones, but they also celebrate their life.

Many people make an ofrenda in their home. It’s a colorful altar which includes pictures of their loved ones and their favorite foods. To set up an ofrenda, you must first thoroughly clean your house, and then you set up a table and cover it with a white tablecloth. Papel picado or bright tissue paper is placed over the cloth. On the top layer there is a crucifix and images of saints.

For each deceased relative, a candle is placed to guide them home. Flowers, usually marigolds, are used to decorate the altar. Salt and water are used to quench the thirst of the souls and water also purifies and cleanses. Incense is burned to elevate your prayers.

KarenSala2021

Karen Sala

Photographs, favorite foods, a favorite article of clothing or a toy from a deceased child are often used. Sugar skulls are used to decorate. They are made from granulated sugar and water and pressed into special molds. They are then decorated using brightly colored feathers, beads and icing. Originally they were not made to be eaten but in the age of commercialism of course you can find edible ones.

They also decorate the graves of their loved ones and have celebrations at the cemetery.

The days of honoring the dead take place everywhere, just in different ways. In Poland these days are called Zaduski. The graves of loved ones are decorated and cemeteries glow with candlelight. Bread is often baked and the deceased’s favorite foods are place on the grave as an offering to their spirit. Here we celebrate Halloween, All Saints Day and All Souls Day. It just goes to show you we are pretty much all the same. I love learning about different cultures.

St. Gall Church is selling Halloween water bottles for $5 each. Stop by the office, 55th and Kedzie, or prepay using square.link/u/LD5sarrX.

Join the fun at a Halloween party from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29 in the St. Gall bingo hall, 5515 S. Kedzie. Pre registration is required at square.link/u/eRonPkPD or stop by the main office. There will be games, music, raffles, dancing and a costume contest. Temperatures will be checked at the door, and masks are required.

Do you have unused, unwanted and expired drugs in your medicine cabinet? It’s time to clean it out and get rid of them. The Cook County MEDS Disposal Initiative is a grassroots education campaign to share information about how to properly dispose of unwanted prescription medicine and over the counter medication.

You can visit cookcountymeds.org to check out locations where you can drop off and dispose of the drugs. You just type your location in. I found Walgreens, 5435 S. Kedzie; the Chicago Lawn (8th) District Police Station, 3420 W. 63rd St.; CVS Pharmacy, 6315 S. Pulaski; the George N. Leighton Criminal Courts Building, 2650 S. California; Cook County Sheriff’s Office, 2323 S. Rockwell; Summit Police Department, 5801 S. Archer, and many other locations.

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