Días de los Muertos (Days of the Dead) is a traditional Mexican holiday when family and friends gather to honor and celebrate loved ones who have passed.
This year, Santa Monica observes the tradition with 9 events at 7 venues throughout the city (which started Oct. 24) and continues through Nov. 7, 2015.
The range of events offers people of all ages a variety of ways to engage in and become familiar with the many aspects of this important and rich tradition.
From the events presented by the Montana Branch Library and the Santa Monica High School Roberts Gallery, including a diorama workshop and student exhibit, and the Pico Library’s mini craft fest and film screenings, to Virginia Avenue Park’s celebration of Día de los Angelitos (Day of the Little Angels) and Edison Language Academy’s annual celebration including altars, food, music, crafts and tours, people are gathering citywide to discover and celebrate Días de los Muertos.
The City of Santa Monica presents its fourth annual Day of the Dead at Woodlawn Cemetery on Sunday, Nov. 1, from 1-4pm. The family-friendly event focuses on the traditions that are part of this celebration of life and death and offers a variety of ways for participants to discover the meaning, philosophy and history of the day. Starting with an opening procession and ceremonial blessing led by Ketzaliztli dancers, the event features the son jarocho music of Veracruz, Mexico with Conjunto Jardin, the all-female stringed mariachi group Las Colibri, and Day of the Dead inspired folk tales, myths, legends, and personal stories, in both English and Spanish, with storyteller Antonio Sacre. Craft workshops include offerings for loved ones who have passed, calavera masks and adding stories of loved ones to the communal memory wall. There will also be a documentary screening on how families in Mexico prepare for this holiday and a special guest appearance by La Catrina, the satirical and elegant female skeleton. Independent radio journalist and DJ, Betto Arcos will be emceeing and sharing his own Day of the Dead stories and memories. Fresh tamales, tacos, pan de muerto and aquas frescas will be available for purchase.
Woodlawn Cemetery, Mausoleum & Mortuary is situated on 26 acres and has views of the Santa Monica mountains and ocean. The cemetery has been serving the community for over 100 years and is owned and operated by the City of Santa Monica – one of the few municipally-owned cemeteries in California. The city purchased the cemetery in 1897 and it is considered one of the city’s most important historical resources.
The event is produced by the City of Santa Monica Community and Cultural Services Department, Woodlawn Cemetery, Mausoleum & Mortuary, Santa Monica Public Library, and artist Paulina Sahagun.
For information on all events, dates and locations, visit smgov.net/dia.