Day of the Dead

Dia de los Muertos is celebrated every year on November 1st all over the world, especially throughout Latin America.  With such a strong Mexican influence in San Diego, Dia de los Muertos is a strongly celebrated holiday throughout the city.  On this day family and friends honor the dead with food, drinks, parties and offerings to those they have lost.  The streets are decorated with brightly colored paper, flowers, and and sugar skulls called calaveras. Families make altars with offerings including food, candles, incense and yellow marigolds and photo of the deceased.

The Aus Aztec ritual with Catholicism, brought to the region by Spanish conquistadores. (Dia de los Muertos is celebrated on All Saints Day and All Souls Day, minor holidays in the Catholic calendar.)Assured that the dead would be insulted by mourning or sadness, Dia de los Muertos celebrates the lives of the deceased with food, drink, parties, and activities the dead enjoyed in life. Dia de los Muertos recognizes death as a natural part of the human experience, a continuum with birth, childhood, and growing up to become a contributing member of the community. On Dia de los Muertos, the dead are also a part of the community, awakened from their eternal sleep to share celebrations with their loved ones.The most familiar symbol of Dia de los Muertos may be the calacas and calaveras(skeletons and skulls), which appear everywhere during the holiday: in candied sweets, as parade masks, as dolls. Calacas and calaveras are almost always portrayed as enjoying life, often in fancy clothes and entertaining situations.

Visitors can explore the Mexican traditions of the Dia de los Muertos in Old Town San Diego, where more than 25 museums, restaurants and shops participate in a community-wide celebration of Dia de los Muertos creating traditional Mexican altars and offerings to departed loved ones. A candlelight procession from the Whaley House Museum to El Campo Santo cemetery to make offerings to Old Town’s earliest families at their grave sites tops off the unique cultural experience.

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