Diìa de los Muertos (Day 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 eight events throughout the city between October 26 and November 4. 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.
Diìa de los Muertos events throughout the City include a student art exhibit at Santa Monica High School Roberts Art Gallery on October 26; Edison Language Academy’s annual festival including altars, food, music, crafts and tours on October 28; sugar skull decorating at Fairview Branch Library on November 1; the Main Library’s documentary screening of Noche de Ánimas and Q&A with the filmmakers on November 2; an altar, music and performance at Pico Branch Library on November 2; altars, performances and workshops at the Pico Youth and Family Center on November 2; and a family-friendly event at Virginia Avenue Park on November 4.
As part of the festivities, the City of Santa Monica will present its sixth annual Diìa de los Muertos event at Woodlawn Cemetery on Saturday, November 4, from 12-3 p.m. The family-friendly event celebrates the cycle of life and the remembrance of ancestors. The main stage features the colorful and dynamic Mexican folk dances of Grandeza Mexicana Folk Ballet Company, and the boleros, rancheras, sones and huapangos of Trio Bolero.
Additional performances include myths, legends, music and poetry by performer and educator Martin Espino, and strolling musicians Trio Mexicano. Attendees can honor a loved one that has passed by contributing stories of loved ones to a communal memory wall. Other activities include calavera face painting, decorating a calavera and artist Mario Mesquita will engage attendees in artful dialogue around cultural traditions and the ways people honor loved ones and their ancestors to kick off the launch of the community planning process for the future of the Woodlawn event. Artist Aldo Cruz will have one of his altar creations on display. Fresh tamales, tacos, churros and aquas frescas will be available for purchase from Los Tamaleros Truck and The Churro Company.
Woodlawn Cemetery, Mausoleum & Mortuary is situated on 26 acres, with views of the ocean and the Santa Monica Mountains. 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. Purchased in 1897, the cemetery is considered one of the city’s most important historical resources.