Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and by people of Mexican heritage living elsewhere. This multi-day holiday focuses on gathering to remember and honor friends and family who are no longer with us.
Traditions include visiting the graves of family members to tidy them up and leave “ofrendas” (small altars). Offerings left at the ofrendas often include marigolds, personal possessions of the deceased, poems, food, and toys for children or alcohol for adults. Other traditions include calaveras makeup (skull-like face painting), masks, stilt-walking, sugar skulls and a parade.
In 2008, the tradition was added to the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
The Valley of the Sun has multiple Dia de los Muertos celebrations due to the presence of a strong Mexican culture. Here are three that we’ve rounded up:
MESA ARTS CENTER DIA DE LOS MUERTOS FESTIVAL
This festival includes a Mercado market place with arts, crafts, jewelry, furniture and more. Local artists will display beautifully created altars. There will be artist demos, mouth-watering food, and fun activities for the entire family with over a dozen cultural performances and live music presented. Participate in the giant community altar to honor the memories of your deceased friends and family members.
October 27 | 10am-5pm
October 28 | 12pm-5pm
Click here for more information: https://www.mesaartscenter.com/index.php/events/dia-de-los-muertos-festival
7th ANNUAL DIA DE LOS MUERTOS PHX FESTIVAL
This is an interactive, multi-generational event aimed to instill a sense of history, pride and knowledge of the Indo-Latino culture into the community at large. The festival will feature hundreds of masked entertainers with performances in dance, music and theater. It is a celebration of heritage and traditions with artists and families. Enjoy a candlelight procession at 5:20pm.
October 28 | 12pm-6pm
Steele Indian School Park
Click here for more information: http://diadelosmuertosphx.com/
DESERT BOTANICAL GARDEN DIA DE LOS MUERTOS CELEBRATION
This two-day festival features music, dance and storytelling. This family event includes crafts and face painting for the children and a Mercado filled with art, jewelry and more. Each day ends with La Procesion, a procession through the garden. Local artists will create an ofrenda (altar) for all participants.
November 3-4 | 10am-6pm
View ticket prices online
Click here for more information: https://www.dbg.org/events/dia-de-los-muertos/