Old Town San Diego's Día de los Muertos is a celebration of the history, culture, and heritage of the region that honors one of its most important holidays.
Día de los Muertos is considered to be one of the most important holiday's of the year by many in Mexico and other Latin American countries. The unity between life and death is celebrated when families come together and offer hospitality to the spirits of their loved ones.
This event is designed to celebrate the history, culture and heritage of the San Diego region and to pay homage to this very important and festive tradition. Old Town's diverse and historic legacy makes it the best site in San Diego to hold this celebration.
Old Town itself takes the place of the mercado, a traditional marketplace, providing goods, entertainment, and regional foods. There will be entertainment and activities for participants of all ages to enjoy. Activities will include face painting, public memorials, children’s arts and crafts, piñatas, Aztec and folkórico dancing, life-sized catrina and skeleton displays, giant skeleton puppets, live music, and a catrina y catrín costume contest.
Tour of Altars
Old Town San Diego's Día de los Muertos is a celebration of the history, culture, and heritage of the region that honors one of its most important holidays. It is at this time that the spirits of loved ones who have died return to earth to celebrate with friends and family, during this happy, festive, very artistic, and visually stimulating time, which is not in any way to be confused with Halloween.
The event consists of three major themes: Remembrance, Community and Celebration
Visit over 40 altars of remembrance presented in both traditional and contemporary ways, including a public altar where you are encouraged to participate by adding your own mementos and photos. In various museums in the park, there will also be altars commemorating the people who lived and worked in Old Town during the 1800s.
The candlelight procession is only on November 2. Participants can purchase electronic candles at several locations. The procession symbolizes community unity and will proceed from the state park to El Campo Santo cemetery.
We encourage visitors to come in Day of Dead costume or sugar skull face paint and add to the celebration!
Through art, music, and ritual Día de los Muertos honors our ancestors and celebrates today's community.
The custom of Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, may be confused with the custom of Halloween. They are not connected, however, the customs of each have very different origins, and the symbols and ideas of death are opposite. In the typical Halloween festivities, death is something to be feared. During Día de los Muertos, the memories and lives of those who have died are something to be celebrated.
We like to highlight the difference in the two holidays by this simple observation. A Halloween skull face will be dark and leering or scary looking; a Día de los Muertos skull face is full of color and happiness and is always smiling.
The customs and culture are completely enveloped in the making of the altars, the food, music, decorations and crafts of the holiday. Enjoy!
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