Gathering History: Celebrating Día de los Muertos in Washington County

Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a holiday celebrated throughout Latin America where families and individuals honor their deceased loved ones. It takes place annually at on November 1st and 2nd, and is observed through building ofrendas (altars) upon which you place pictures of friends and family who have passed on, candles, calaveras (skulls), marigolds, and other symbolic items such as food, incense, and salt.

This year, Five Oaks Museum partnered with the PCC Rock Creek Multicultural Center, PCC Rock Creek Learning Garden, PCC College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP), Adelante Mujeres, and local organizers to celebrate and share the holiday with Latinx and non-Latinx communities throughout Washington County and Portland. Although celebrating in-person was not an option this year, we’re excited to share the following digital offerings and invite you to record an oral history about your family’s Día de los Muertos practices and traditions.


View the Día de los Muertos social media takeover by Liz Pazmino Calderon, a student leader and Equity Ambassador for the PCC Rock Creek Multicultural Center.

Using the links below, you’ll have the opportunity to respond to any or all of the following prompts to reflect on yours and your family’s Día de los Muertos traditions. You can choose between answering in English or Spanish. Once you click the link, a new page will open and your computer or phone’s camera will turn on. Press the red record button at the bottom of the page to start your video. Be sure to say your name when you begin to record!

(These questions will also appear at the top of the recording window.)


Reflexiones del Día de Muertos

1. Si usted celebra el Día de los Muertos, ¿cuáles son sus tradiciones o las tradiciones de su familia en conmemorar a sus antepasados durante el Día de los Muertos? ¿Han cambiado estas tradiciones a través de los años? Si es así, ¿cómo es que ha cambiado?

2. ¿Cómo es que el Día de los Muertos le hace sentir conectada(o) a su familia y su cultura? ¿Qué objetos incluye en su ofrenda?

3. ¿Quién(es) son las personas que usted estará recordando este año? ¿Cómo serán conmemorados? Por ejemplo: un miembro de la familia, amigo,o una figura pública como un artista, activista, etc.

Grabar su entrevista aquí.


Día de los Muertos Reflections

1. If you celebrate Dia de los Muertos, what are your and/or your family’s traditions when observing the holiday? Has the way that you and/or your family celebrate Dia de los Muertos changed over the years? If so, how?

2. How does Dia de los Muertos make you feel connected to your family and your heritage? What is usually on your ofrenda?

3. Who are you commemorating or honoring this year? How are you remembering and honoring them? It could be someone in your family, a friend, or a public person such as an actor or activist.

Record your interview here.