Día de los Muertos, a Mexican holiday which combines pre-Columbian and Catholic customs, honors the cycle of life and death. The holiday, celebrated from Nov. 1-2, commemorates the return of departed loved ones’ souls.
Each year, cities across the U.S. have embraced the holiday in unique ways and made it their own. In Austin, the celebrations continue to grow with festivities ranging from altar displays to family festivals.
Here’s a roundup of some top Austin Día de los Muertos weekend events:
FRIDAY, Nov. 2
“La Alumbrada” Day of the Dead at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center (600 River St.): Check out this Día de los Muertos celebration from 5-9 p.m that brings together both tradition and local music, art and dance. Catch diverse tunes ranging from Central American singer-songwriter Mauricio Callejas to mariachi music from family band Mariachi Corbetas. Dance performances by Roy Lozano’s Ballet Folklórico and Danza Azteca Guadalupana will also be part of the festivities.
Día de Muertos celebration at the Consulate General of Mexico (5202 E. Ben White Blvd.): Enjoy hot chocolate and tamales while listening to a brief 4 p.m. talk about the consulate’s altars, which honor 11 Mexican women who made invaluable contributions to Mexican art, culture and history. Free entrance, but an RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org is required.
Altar Build and “Celebration of Life through Remembrance and Healing” keynote at the Blanton Museum of Art (200 E. MLK Jr. Blvd.): Help build an altar by bringing a memento such as a photo or flower for a loved one who has passed away. The nonprofit Final Acts Project helps people who know it’s important to discuss end-of-life wishes but don’t know where to begin. The 7 p.m. event includes a keynote address as well as a question-and-answer portion.
Día de los Muertos family movie night featuring “Coco” at Austin Center for Grief & Loss (2413 Greenlawn Pkwy.): Dinner and snacks will be provided during this 6 p.m. screening of “Coco.” Attendees are encouraged to contribute to the altar by bringing a photo of a departed loved one they’d like to remember or bring their favorite food or treat.
SATURDAY, Nov. 3
Día de los Muertos Family Day at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center (600 River St.): Family fun activities from 1-4 p.m. will include face painting and sugar skull decorating. Piñatas will be provided by Las Piñatas ATX. Day of the Dead presentations will be at 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. Outdoor altars will be on display through Nov. 9 and indoor altars will be on display through Dec. 1.
Viva la Vida altars at Mexic-Arte Museum (419 Congress Ave.): Mexic-Arte’s exhibit “Viva la Vida: Celebrating 35 Years of Mexic-Arte Museum’s Día de los Muertos” goes through Nov. 25 and features pieces from its permanent collection, altars and archival materials. New altars honor deceased artists such as Mexican composer and performer of children’s songs Francisco Gabilondo Soler, better known as Cri Cri: El Grillito Cantor. Museum opens at 10 a.m. and closes at 5 p.m. on Saturdays.