BAKERSFIELD, calif. (KGET) — Dozens of people across Kern County headed to the Historic Union Cemetery Thursday night to celebrate Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead.

Many graves were elaborately decorated by loved ones and included photographs and handmade figures.

Dia de Los Muertos is a centuries-old Mexican tradition — in which families gather around the grave of family members and celebrate their lives.

The atmosphere was festive, with music and food and above all, many memories.

One man was there to honor his late nephew.

“He was lovable, he was a great kid. He was gone way too soon,” Michael Espitia said. “It’s a special day because we represent all our loved ones that passed away.”

Organizers say the Dia de los Muertos event at Union Cemetery has grown significantly since it first began.