(CBS) — Chicagoans of Mexican descent marked the Day of the Dead – El Dia de los Muertos – Thursday by erecting altars to friends and loved ones passed.
One large celebration took place at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, in northwest suburban Des Plaines. Beginning at 4 p.m., dozens of families built altars of their own starting with nothing more than flimsy wooden crosses.
Each altar was different. Some were festooned with candles, flowers and formal photographs, others were whimsical invitations for spirits to return, including favorite foods, drinks and personal belongings left behind.
On Michelle Reyes’ altar to her recently deceased brother was a 20-piece box of Chicken McNuggets and a quarter-pounder, a soft drink, sweetbreads, his cell phone and a game console “so he can enjoy it again,” she explained.
There was mariachi for her grandfathers and Reese’s peanut butter cups for her aunt. For everyone at the dozens of altars, there was a special Mass and prayers.