Dia de los Muertos is a thousand-year-old celebration affirming life and cultural heritage for many Latin Americans. Though the holiday is often associated with Halloween, it is not the same. 

Celebrated over two days, Nov. 1 and 2, the dead are believed to visit the living and many offerings are made to family members who have passed. Both an honorable commemoration to those who came before and an acknowledgment to those alive, the holiday is a treasure of cultural heritage and consists of colorful costumes, sugar skulls, and savory or sweet offerings to relatives who have passed.

In 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) added Dia de los Muertos to its Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list, firmly espousing its importance to those currently living in Mexico and abroad. 

This year, some annual community celebrations have been postponed or moved online to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19. Others have adapted their format to accommodate social distancing and mask wearing. But fun is still to be had whether you attend the events or celebrate it virtually. 

Dia de los Muertos Oak Cliff 

Nov. 1 & 2, 6 – 10 p.m. 

CocoAndre Chocolatier is a decade-old chocolate shop and horchateria in Oak Cliff. The Mexican-American mother and daughter team are hosting a walk-through art show featuring local artists. The storefront will be transformed into a larger-than-life ofrenda or altar. Attendees are encouraged to bring photo copies of their loved ones and offerings such as candles, flowers and treats to place on the community ofrenda. Masks are required. 

Eventbrite posting: eventbrite.es/e/dia-de-los-muertos-oak-cliff-nov-1-2-6pm-10pm-tickets-126626486229?aff=ebdssbdestsearch&keep_tld=1 

Portrait of a family in disguise at the Day of the Dead parade in Mexico City. Eve Orea / Shutterstock.com

The Patios at the Rail Dia de los Muertos Festival 

Oct. 31, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.

The Patios at the Rail, a mixed-use development consisting of a myriad of businesses, will host a Dia de los Muertos event Saturday in Frisco. The celebration will take place outdoors on its rooftop patio. Local vendors will showcase their wares while attendees enjoy a live performance by Mariachi Arriagio. A costume contest with a grand prize and special showing of Disney’s Coco will wrap up the evening. It is a ticketed event—general admission is $10, while adults 21 and up can cash in on five beers with the Brews Band for $25. For kids 10 and under, admission is free. 

Eventbrite posting: eventbrite.com/e/dia-de-los-muertos-festival-tickets-120228373301?aff=ebdssbdestsearch 

El Patio Mex-Tex Restaurant Dia de los Muertos celebration 

Nov. 1, 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. 

This Lewisville restaurant is hosting a series of activities during their first Dia de los Muertos event. Signature drink specials last all day, featuring visits from Manik tequila and Four Corners Brewery. There will be music all afternoon catered by DJ AvviGlow and a pop up shop with AmoraMexico will be showcasing traditional clothing and accessories, while Flora will teach guests how to make flower crowns. Attendees can count on a flamenco performance, crafts for kids, and “pan de muerto,” or hot chocolate. End the night by joining everyone to watch the Cowboys football game starting at 7 p.m. 

Eventbrite posting: eventbrite.es/e/dia-de-los-muertos-tickets-124783106631?aff=ebdssbdestsearch&keep_tld=1

Group of people dressed in colorful costumes and sugar skull face masks at Dia de Los Muertos in San Antonio. Moab Republic / Shutterstock.com

Muertos Fest

Oct. 31 & Nov. 1, 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Texas’ largest Dia de los Muertos has gone virtual this year due to COVID-19. Normally held in downtown San Antonio, the eight annual Muertos Fest will be broadcast on CW35 on Saturday evening with an encore presentation broadcast Sunday evening. Texas filmmaker Jim Mendiola is the creative force behind the one-hour special and offering dance, music, and spoken word. Texas’ own Los Lobos will be headlining the event with performances by Carla Morrison, Lila Downs, Los Nahuatlatos, and Tallercito de Son. San Antonio legend Santiago Jimenez Jr. will also be making an appearance, and Nina Diaz and Chris Perez will be performing “Fotos Y Recuerdos” with the Mariachi Campanas De America and Ceci Zavala in honor of the 25th anniversary of Selena’s death.

This year’s event will also pay tribute to people affected by COVID-19 in the Latinx community, and viewers will be able to tune in to see ofrendas built by the community and learn the stories behind them.

“If there ever was a time to honor those we’ve lost to the disease, and to thank those farm workers and care givers and grocery store clerks, it’s now,” Mendiola pointed out in a press release. “Covid’s impact on the Latino community has been especially hard and we will remember lives lived, and recognize the resilience of our community through altars, songs and stories of those we’ve lost.”

For information visit http://muertosfest.com/

Emily Nickles

Emily is a freelance writer and artist. She received her BA in English and minor in Art from Texas Woman’s University where she was Editor-in-Chief of the student newspaper, The Lasso, for two semesters....