Dia de los Muertos Mission's Community Altar Exhibit 2023


Day of the Dead originated several thousand years ago with the Aztec, Toltec, and other Nahua people, who considered mourning the dead disrespectful. For these pre-Hispanic cultures, death was a natural phase in life’s long continuum. The dead were still members of the community, kept alive in memory and spirit—and during Día de Los Muertos, they temporarily returned to Earth. Today’s Día de Los Muertos celebration is a mash-up of pre-Hispanic religious rites and Christian feasts. It takes place on November 1 and 2—All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day on the Catholic calendar—around the time of the fall maize harvest.

Altars / Ofrendas

Every year, a central component of the Día de Los Muertos celebration is the community Altars, or Ofrendas, where we come together to recognize, share, and joyfully honor the lives of loved ones who are no longer with us. This centerpiece of the celebration is usually built in private homes and cemeteries. These aren’t altars for worshipping; rather, they’re meant to welcome spirits back to the realm of the living. As such, they’re loaded with offerings—water to quench thirst after the long journey, food, family photos, and a candle for each dead relative. If one of the spirits is a child, you might find small toys on the altar. Marigolds are the main flowers used to decorate the altar. Scattered from altar to gravesite, marigold petals guide wandering souls back to their place of rest.

Shoe Box Altars by Girl Scout Troop 378 & Troop 1005 - Art Work by MCISD Mission High School
Shoe Box Altars by MCISD Mission High School


The following altars were created by community members in memory of their loved ones.

In memory of

Ana Lidia Ochoa and Jose Angel Ochoa

In Loving Memory of our beloved Mother and Father.

Dedicated by Jennifer L. Zamora

In memory of

Vicente Fernandez

Sharyland High School honors the legendary Vicente Fernandez, "El Rey de la Musica Ranchera."

Dedicated by Sharyland High School

In memory of

Ramona & Antonio Rodriguez, Norma Casanova, Diana Margarita Rodriguez, Maria Rita Vargas, Eduardo Rodriguez, Rogelio Bermea III, Carlos Vargas II, Javier Rodriguez Jr., Alex Daniel Gonzalez, Josue Rogelio Uranga, Carlos Vargas Jr., Frank Garcia, Juan Garza, and Francisco Sebastion Hernandez

and Wells (cat), Kitty Wap (cat), and Chuchees (dog)

In memory of our loved ones.

Dedicated by Ashley Garza

In memory of

Maria De Jesus Uresti

Madre, Como te extraño. Deseo escuchar tu voz, ver tus ojos y darte un abrazo. Te doy gracias por cuidarnos y por el amor que nos diste a nosotros, a tus hijas e hijos. Cada día que pasa rezo por ti. Sé que algún día nos volveremos a ver. Te amo siempre, infinito.

Dedicated by Maria Mariscal

In memory of

Organ Donor Heroes from the Rio Grande Valley

In Honor of organ donor heroes who saved lives through the power of organ donation. Texas Organ Sharing Alliance, the organ donation agency servicing the Rio Grande Valley, thanks these donors and all individuals who have signed up to Donate Life.

For more information about organ donation and to register as a life-saving donor, visit TOSA1.org

Dedicated by Texas Organ Sharing Alliance

In memory of

Ramiro J. Rodriguez Jr.

former Mayor of City of Palmhurst

Ramiro Jose Rodriguez Jr., former Mayor (1999-2022) and retired pharmaceutical salesman, was a graduate of Peacock Military Academy in San Antonio, Texas. Ramiro received his bachelor’s degree in biology and minor in interdisciplinary studies from Pan American University. Upon graduating college his journey began as a lifelong public servant working for the cities of McAllen, Mission and Pharr. Upon retirement, he became full time mayor for the city of Palmhurst a position he has held since 1999. As a first term mayor, he was able to establish a police department and a municipal court. Palmhurst grew from a sleepy town to a successful community. Walmart, H-E-B and Walgreens are just a few of the businesses the mayor and the city council attracted into the community. In addition to being mayor, Ramiro served four years as Region Twelve Director with the Texas Municipal League, TML audit committee, Presidential nominating board, legislative forums, census council, and drainage bond committee. Awards Ramiro received during his lifetime include RGV Walk of Fame - 2005, Cambridge Who’s Who -2009, Leadership Award- City of Alton 2017. As a true public servant, Ramiro took classes for open meeting compliance and public funding for cities. Mayor Rodriguez fought ferociously for all citizens in his town and other small cities. This was evident during the pandemic where he successfully obtained equal allotments of crisis funding for all citizens regardless of city population size. Throughout Ramiro’s life he enjoyed various forms of activities, such as bowling, reading, and having discussions with his son and friends regardless of the topic, from politics to extraterrestrial phenomenon. Despite their letdowns Ramiro was a faithful Dallas Cowboys fan along with enjoying the San Antonio Spurs and Houston Astros. He was an avid bowler and participated in the Flamingo and Mission Valley Classic league for over 30 years.

Dedicated by City of Palmhurst

In memory of

Concepcion (Connie) Cantu

In Memory of Our Loving Mother and Grandmother who loved her family and her cooking. She enjoyed dancing and fishing, she also enjoyed spending time at the beach. She loved cookouts with her family and friends spending birthdays and holidays with her loved ones. She is very much missed by those who’s life she touched. We love and miss her very much everyday, always in our hearts.

Dedicated by Gloria Sanchez

In memory of

Araceli Garza Cantu

Araceli was a devoted daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother and Dallas Cowboys Fan. She served her community as a registered nurse at McAllen General Hospital as a private nurse. Araceli loved wearing bright colors and lipstick, music, dancing and throwing gritos. She dedicated her life to her family, friends and her beautiful garden. She was always the life of the party. So joyous and exuberant with her crooked smile and laugh that lit up a room. Every room she entered, people were drawn to her.

Dedicated by Crissy Cantu

In memory of

Ted Gerlach, Rita G. Cavazos, Socorro Guerra, Mabel McDaniel, Sol Marroquin, Kika De La Garza, Joe and Angelica Lazo, Gene and Betty Welsh, Cleo Dawson, John and Betty Abernante, Harla Midkiff, Carl Waitz, Kenneth White, and Norma Davis

We are a group of Mission natives honoring our parents, educators and community leaders. Who helped shape the city of Mission during the 60's-70's-80's-90's. We are grateful for their dedication to the community so that future generations could benefit.

Dedicated by Martha Cavazos Fipps

In memory of

Leopoldo Ramirez Jr. and Guadalupe (Lupita) Lopez-Ramirez

In Loving Memory of our grandparents who were the absolute best! Grandpa, a proud WWII Veteran, Grandma, the pillar of our family. Both instilled worth ethic, honesty, faith and a deep love for family. We miss them both immensely.

Dedicated by your loved ones

In memory of

Linda Lara, Arnoldo Ramirez, Carlos Luna, and Emilio Martinez

Honoring all Amigos del Valle participants who with their lives showed us the importance of living our lives to the fullest.

Dedicated buy Amigos del Valle