Day of the Dead artwork turns Philly's LOVE Park into a festive gateway to the underworld

A kick-off celebration comes on Friday, Oct. 15, at 5:30 p.m.

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The fountain in LOVE Park in Philadelphia's Center City has been transformed into an entrance to the underworld, in preparation for the city's celebration of The Day of the Dead.

"The Day of the Dead celebration is part of our culture. It’s one of the most important traditions," said Cesar Viveros, who worked with Latino artists like himself to create the bamboo vault over the fountain.

It is meant to mimic the altars set up in his native Mexico for the celebration related to Catholic observances of All Saints Day and All Souls Day. The Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos in Mexico and Latin America, the day after Halloween, is a joyful holiday spent remembering and paying respect to friends and family who have died.

The altars are decorated with bright, sweet-smelling marigolds and other lures to attract the spirits of those departed loved ones.

"If the departed is a child, you might have toys, chocolate, whatever they enjoy in life," said Viveros. "For adults, you might have cigarettes, tobacco, tequila, mescal."

Vivero is also decorating it with traditional skull imagery and an effigy of La Catrina, the female ruler of the underworld, represented by the elegant decorated skulls ubiquitous on the Day of the Dead.

People can get a look at the kick-off celebration, with music and dancing, on Friday, Oct. 15, at 5:30 p.m. The vault will stay up until the Day of the Dead ends, on Nov. 2.

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