Marigolds adorning an altar with the favorite things of those who have passed is a signature note of Día de los Muertos, also known as The Day of the Dead. While the marigolds are tradition, the things that line the altars vary–from a bottle of liquor to a stuffed animal, the Orange County Register wrote in a 2017 article about the Mexican holiday. The Day of the Dead is when those still on Earth celebrate the departed with festivals and lively celebrations, according to National Geographic. While one would think the holiday would be associated with mourning, it’s actually the opposite. It’s a way to recognize death as a natural experience, National Geographic writes; it’s a special day of all the activities that those who have departed would enjoy if they were here. Beginning before the arrival of the Spaniard conquerors, the Mexican festival was merged into All Souls Day and All Saints Day, according to National Geographic. A day held dear to many families, it’s best spent with those that you love and care for. No matter where you’re at, take the time to celebrate Día de los Muertos.
Celebrated between Oct. 31 and Nov. 2, there’s plenty of time to hit some festivals. If you’re looking for a Día de los Muertos gathering to attend in Orange County, look no further. There’s plenty all over Southern California to attend, but there’s one in Fullerton located off Maiden and Wilshire that should be exciting if it’s close to you. Forth’right Productions Studio is putting together their “final event” also known as the 7th annual Día de los Muertos. Happening Nov. 3, 2018, from 5:00 pm to 9:30 pm at Max Bloom’s Cafe, entertainment is set to be provided by Freshsoul Alliance. Also performing is Icpaxochitl from de Poetras Cultura. Food will be provided by Forth’right Productions Studio. Vendors will include Freshsoul Apparel. HIP KATZ Car Club will also be in attendance. The following activities will be available for families:
- Free coloring book
- Free candy
- Free snacks
- Free entertainment/music/poetry
- Free toy Hot Rod/custom cars from the HIP KATZ Car Club, for the first 12 children
Another festival to check out just over in Los Angeles County is the sixth annual Downey Día de los Muertos Art Festival, happening Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018 from 11am to 8pm at the Downey Theatre. Featuring a slew of festival artists (both local and regional) and activities such as Casa Calaveras, a pop-up exhibit, will be available for all festival goers. This is another good one–make sure you go check it out.
Beginning in 1999, Casa Calaveras is a pop-up exhibit featured during the Downey Día de los Muertos Art festival. The exhibit has traveled all across Southern California, featured in places such as the Museum of Latin American Art, LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, Old Town San Diego’s Fiesta de Reyes and 10 years at Santa Ana’s Bowers Museum of Cultural Art. The exhibit celebrates the marriage of José & Gloria, the couple from the hereafter, according to Yelp. The bride and groom go on a multicultural adventure traveling the world as they meet a host of happy skeletons from nations all over. A heart-filled tale of two lovebirds, it’s all expressed through life-sized happy skeleton figures. It’s a family fun event that’s perfect for introducing your kids to the holiday. For more information about the exhibit, check out their Yelp page here.
Some of the groups that are set to perform include Resurrección Mexican Folk, Grupo Folklorico Mexcaltitán, Tradición Dance Company, with others. Full schedules can be found here. There are three stages during the festival, so the amount of entertainment is going to be plentiful. There won’t be a single dull moment, so plan for an all day trip.
Don’t forget that there’s free admission and free parking as well. For more information about the festival, including how to get there, photos, event schedule (coming soon) and a festival map, visit their website. Don’t sleep on these events. If you can, try to attend both and help support local communities coming together.