The Day of the Dead, or Dia de Muertos as it is traditionally known, is a Mexican tradition used to honor loved ones who have passed — by gathering together with family and friends and pray for their spiritual peace.
As part of the celebrations, families visit the resting places of their ancestors, to decorate their graves and leave “ofrendas” — a small altar with traditional offerings. Gifts often include alcohol, poems, toys, marigolds and food, and are brought to entice the spirits of the dead to come and hear their living family members prayers. Other traditions also include painting your face with Calaveras makeup, candy skulls, and a parade to the burial site.
Arizona has always had a strong tie to Mexican culture, and there are always plenty of Dia de Los Muertos celebrations to look forward to in October. In this guide, we’re listing the top the Day of the Dead events in Arizona and how you can enjoy them.
If you’re a traditionalist who enjoys celebrating Dia de Los Muertos, the historical way, you’ll love the Dia de Los Muertos PHX festival. Located at Steele Indian School Park on October 23rd, you can expect plenty of traditional Aztec entertainment, including a dance blessing, ancestral chants sung by a choir, an appearance by Primavera Ballet Folklórico, dancing dragons, and much more traditional entertainment. Are you looking for something a little more contemporary? Don’t worry — there are also crafts such as mask making, as well as a musical petting zoo, face painting, and a Mercado amongst many other things.
You can find this traditional celebration at Steele Indian School Park, in Phoenix. The fun begins at noon on Sunday, October 23rd, and carries through until .6 p.m. Entry is free! For more information head to diadelosmuertosphx.com
Desert Botanical Garden
If you love to support local artists and community events, the Dia de Los Muertos celebration at Desert Botanical Gardens could be an excellent choice. Entertainment will include storytelling, music, and dance, plus a community altar to leave notes and flowers for departed loved ones.
The main attraction of the fun event is the “Ofrenda” exhibit, showcasing local artists imaginative altar designs. You can also stop by the El Mercado to purchase local artwork and traditional Dia de Los Muertos snacks.
You can find the local art extravaganza Dia de Los Muertos at Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, on from the 29th to the 30th of October. Admission costs $22 for adults and $10 for children aged three years to 12 years. There is also a discounted entry of $20 for seniors and $12 for students. For more information, visit www.dbg.org.
Dia de Los Muertos Festival
Mesa Arts Center is hosting their Day of the Dead festival on both the October 22nd and 23rd. Entertainment will include live traditional Mexican music, traditional dance performances from local groups such as fan-favorite Mariachi Corzon de Phoenix, plus much more. You will also have the opportunity to do a spot of shopping, with offerings of jewelry and arts and crafts from local artisans. The Dia de Los Muertos Festival will be held at the Mesa Arts Center in Mesa, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. October 22nd, and 12 p.m. until .5 p.m. on October 23rd. For more information, go to www.mesaartscenter.com.