The Día de los Muertos celebration at Galt Cemetery on Oct. 29 offered Galtonians a chance to celebrate their loved ones who have died, with joyful dance and music and lovingly arranged tributes to their lives.

Also known as Day of the Dead, the holiday originates in Mexico. Families visit the graves of loved ones and construct altars called ofrendas with photographs and offerings of the foods a loved one enjoyed in life.

Galt-Arno Cemetery District’s celebration started with a Mass and a dove release, and included vendors selling food and ofrenda decorations.

“We need to teach our future generations about the past generations and let them get to know the past generations in a positive, happy way,” district director Belinda Ellis said.

Multiple groups put on performances throughout the day, such as Mariachi Luz de Luna, Galt band Los Doble Jrs and Ballet Folklórico Raíces Mexicanas.

Ballet Folklórico founder Maria Valdovinos said her group’s performances of Mexican folk dances are important “to make sure we continue our heritage and demonstrate for everyone a little bit of Mexico.”

The dancers are students who learn dances from the various Mexican states at locations in Tracy and Stockton. Founded in 2006, the group now comprises more than 100 students.

Aztec dance group Yolotl Tonantzin visited the ofrendas, blessing them with incense while a member blew on a conch shell.

When they visited the ofrenda for Veronica Soria Montano, who died of cancer in February, her sister Socorro Soria was sitting nearby. Soria said family members had stocked the altar with some of her sister’s favorite foods, like pastries and coffee.

“We are here because we know that if it was one of us, she would be here with us. She’d follow all the traditions like this.”