Dia de los Muertos

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Dia de los MuertosDía de Los Muertos - Day of the Dead
October 29, 2016 (Saturday) 11:00 am to 11:00 pm
October 30, 2016  (Sunday)    8:00 am to 6:00 pm
El Panteon de Sacramento
2020 J Street
Sacramento, CA

“El Día de Los Muertos” (Day of the Dead) is a Mexican holiday observed on November 1st and 2nd, throughout México and around the world in other cultures.  While this colorful holiday takes many forms, it always focuses on gatherings of family and friends to remember and celebrate the lives of friends and family members who have died.

Internationally, the celebration takes place on October 31, November 1 and November 2, in connection with the Triduum of Hallowtide, All Hallows’ Eve, All Saints Day, and All Souls’ Day.

In Mexican tradition, “El Día de Los Muertos” pays homage to the dearly departed by erecting and dedicating beautiful altars in their honor and paying tribute to their memory.  The altars bring together photo images of the deceased, food, water and drink that they particularly enjoyed, “pan de muerto”, aromatic incense, candles, “cempaxúchitl” (marigolds), colorful artifacts and sugar skulls. 

Where possible, a “desfile” (community procession) goes to the local cemetery to deliver vivid orange marigolds, beautiful marigold crosses, gifts and remembrances to the grave sites of the loved ones.  It is an ancient Mexican belief that the souls of the dead have gone to a better place and that no soul likes to be thought of sadly, therefore it is common to see the procession accompanied by local people dressed as “Calacas” (skeletons), depicted as joyous figures often wearing festive clothing, dancing, and playing musical instruments to indicate a happy afterlife.

It is said that every altar should have the representation of the four elements, earth, wind, fire and water.  The community strives to include these through the use of “Papél Picado” (images cut into colorful tissue) because it’s lightness and fragility reminds us of the breeze, the flowers come from and represent the earth, the candles represent fire and there is water. Many altars will have a candle for every person we wish to remember.  The candle assists the loved one to see their altar, the water and food are provided to nourish them following their long journey from beyond and the incense to make their arrival pleasant. 

Dia de los muertos altar

In most regions of Mexico November 1 is to honor children and infants, whereas deceased adults are honored on November 2. This is indicated by generally referring to November 1 mainly as Día de los Inocentes ("Day of the Innocents") but also as Día de los Angelitos ("Day of the Little Angels") and November 2 as Día de los Muertos or Día de los Difuntos ("Day of the Dead").

The MCCNC joins the local artist community in the “Día de Los Muertos” by erecting an Altar, (a structure on which offerings are made) and pridefully displaying its beautiful “Catrina”. "La Catrina” (elegant skeleton) has become the referential image of Death in México, it is common to see her embodied as part of the celebrations of Day of the Dead throughout the country; she has become a motive for the creation of handcrafts made from clay or other materials.  She in particular has become an icon of the Mexican Día de Los Muertos.

Come to enjoy the celebration of Día de Los Muertos in El Panteón de Sacramento. It promises to be two days of celebration and happy remembrance of those who have passed away. Bring your friends and family, to enjoy the color of the many exhibits, artifacts, food, presentations and a meaningful international experience.

Día de Los Muertos is free to the public.

Día de Los Muertos also offers excellent volunteer opportunities.  If you are interested in lending a hand, let us know by visiting our Volunteer site.