The Los Angeles Zoo and Plaza de la Raza Cultural Center for the Arts & Education have partnered to co-create a special Beloved Pets Ofrenda in observance of Día de los Muertos.
For its second year, the Beloved Pets Ofrenda is designed to honor the memory of cherished animal companions that have passed away, and all Zoo guests are welcome to come and print or draw photos of their pets and place their images and mementos on the ofrenda, located at the Zoo’s Front Entry Plaza now until Wednesday, Nov. 2.
“We are thrilled to partner with our friends at Plaza de la Raza for a second year to give Angelenos the space to love and remember their pets,” said Denise M. Verret, CEO & zoo director, Los Angeles Zoo.
An ofrenda, is an altar created to honor loved ones who have passed away. These ceremonial displays are a colorful mix of symbols, pictures, flowers, memorabilia, food, beverages and other meaningful items, and all are an essential part of Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations, which indigenous Mexican cultures observe on Nov. 1 and 2.
“It is an honor for Plaza de la Raza to collaborate with the LA Zoo every year to spread culture and share stories, and we thank our friends, the furried and others,” said Maria Jimenez Torres, executive director, Plaza de la Raza Cultural Center for the Arts & Education. “For nearly all of our 52-year history, Plaza de la Raza has hosted a Day of the Dead event, based on the Mexican celebration which honors life by welcoming the dead and embracing death as a part of life.
“It is a time to honor, remember and salute our loved ones. In any family who loves their pets, animals are a part of the family and our lives, so an altar to remember them with more joy than sorrow, at least at this time of the year and in this way, is fitting and healing. Viva Vida! Viva Día de los Muertos!”
The Beloved Pets Ofrenda is said to honor the connection between humans and animals. A common connection that many share is the love and dedication that goes into caring for an animal.
Zoo Learning & Engagement staff will be on-site to help co-create the ofrenda with guests every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at Sea Life Cliffs. While Learning & Engagement staff will not be at the ofrenda on weekdays, the ofrenda will be open and accessible to all guests who wish to display photos of their beloved pet; guests will need to bring their own print-out or drawing during weekday operations.