Hispanic Heritage Month 2020 (Sept. 15 – Oct. 15), recognizes the histories, cultures and contributions of communities that share a common language, originating from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. The New Brunswick Community Farmers’ Market (NBCFM), administered through Rutgers Cooperative Extension, has worked with the Mexican community in New Brunswick to grow the iconic flower for one of their treasured celebrations.  

Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a Mexican holiday celebrated on November 1 and 2, that honors friends and family who have passed away. To welcome spirits back to visit the living, it is viewed as a day of celebration rather than one of sadness, with colorful altars erected in homes, cemeteries and public spaces with favorite foods and drinks and personal mementos of the deceased. The altar decorations usually include hand-cut paper marigolds or fresh marigolds—cempasuchitl. 

The NBCFM “home base” at 178 Jones Avenue, New Brunswick is the site of a farmers market pavilion, children’s garden and community garden— Jardin de Esperanza, where vegetables, fruits, and flowers, including the marigolds, are grown. Here is a peek at the growing process, from start to finish.