The Day of the Dead (or Día de los Muertos) is solidly rooted in Meso-American mysticism as a spiritual communion with the deceased. Like other spiritual occasions, Day of the Dead events in Los Angeles now feature decidedly secular trappings.
Understanding the Day of the Dead Festivities in Los Angeles
While Día de los Muertos skulls and the copious presence of bone-shaped candies and chocolates might give the impression of the Day of the Dead’s being little more than a south-of-the-border take on America’s Halloween, Stanley Brandes in “Skulls to the Living, Bread to the Dead” actually refers to it as a “mortuary ritual.”
Tied in with All Saints’ Day on November 1st and All Souls’ Day on November 2nd, the living regard Day of the Dead festivities as an opportunity to remember, provide for, commune with and be comforted by the dead. Children fully participate in Día de los Muertos events, such as shrine décor, grave cleanup and meal preparation. So how do Angelenos observe the Day of the Dead?
Self Help Graphics & Art
East L.A. Civic Center at 4801 East 3rd Street, Los Angeles 90022 (free)
In 2010, Self Help Graphics organizes its 37th annual Day of the Dead festivities on 11-02 from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. This year’s location is the East L.A. Civic Center. Look forward to live performances of local bands and artists, enjoy tasty Día de los Muertos skulls and other foods, see event-specific artwork and learn a little more about this traditional celebration.
Día de los Muertos Skulls, Festivities and Events at Olvera Street
Olvera Street (two blocks from City Hall, north of the Hollywood 101), Los Angeles 90012 (free)
This free Day of the Dead event actually includes multi-day festivities. Observance of a Meso-American themed celebration takes place nightly from October 25, 2010 to November 2nd. Festivities begin at 10 a.m. and last until 6 p.m. Events include altar decorating, exhibits, live entertainment and also “pre-Columbian Novenario processions.”
Day of the Dead Festivities at Hollywood Forever Cemetery
6000 Santa Monica Boulevard, LA 90038 ($10 for those 10 and older)
The Día de los Muertos at Hollywood Forever is the 11th observation of the holiday at this venue. It takes place on October 30, 2010 and is scheduled to run from 2 p.m. to 12 a.m. Live acts take various stages throughout the day. Kids enjoy story telling time at 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Please note that this is a mix of a Halloween party and Day of the Dead in Los Angeles. Attendees are encouraged to come in costume, preferably as their “favorite icon from the [Mexican] Independence or Revolution era.” There are altar decorating contests and prizes, booths, food and arts. Please do not bring your canine companion, a cooler or a skateboard.