dia de los muertos

Mexican ‘Day of the Dead’ tradition very much alive on Capitol Hill
Offices display lively altars with vibrant colors and food for dead relatives

A Día de los Muertos altar is on display in the office of Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva on Capitol Hill on Monday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Marilyn Zepeda may have left Mexico, but she made sure to bring along a piece of its culture to the United States: vibrant “papel picado,” loaves of “Pan de Muerto” and photos of the dead.

The legislative correspondent for Arizona Democratic Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, who is himself the son of a Mexican immigrant, Zepeda has been in Washington, D.C., just over a year, and she’s already raising spirits around the office. After all, it’s almost the Day of the Dead, or “Día de Los Muertos.”

Migrants and lawmakers honored for Dia de los Muertos

Rep. Joaquin Castro discusses a Dia de los Muertos altar set up by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on October 29, 2019 (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call).

Members of Congress are commemorating Dia de los Muertos at the Capitol this year with altars honoring migrants and civil rights activists, as well as Rep. Elijah E. Cummings and former Rep. John Conyers Jr., who both died earlier this month. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus put together an altar to honor migrants who have died in U.S. custody.