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Where to celebrate Dia de los Muertos in Austin, both in-person and virtually

Aisling Ayers
Austin 360

Every year in homes across the country, early November marks a celebration of the lives of loved ones who have passed away. Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, originated in Mexico and is traditionally celebrated on Nov. 1-2 with the building of ofrendas (or altars), singing, dancing, gift-giving, and food and drink.

Here's a list of in-person and virtual celebrations happening around Austin this year.

Viva la Vida Fest

Walk through a maze of exhibits, large parade props and murals at the Mexic-Arte Museum’s annual Viva la Vida Fest on Oct. 30 at 419 Congress Ave. Museum admission is $7 for adults, and the first 200 visitors get free pan de muerto, a traditional Mexican sweet bread. There’s not a parade this year, but guests can still experience the celebration virtually by visiting the museum’s website for videos of past parades, a virtual exhibition tour and art activities. More information:mexic-artemuseum.org/event/viva-la-vida-2021.

Alyssa Vipond, of Broomfield, Colorado, looks at the memorials on the community ofrenda at the Mexic-Arte Museum on Oct. 26.

Waterloo Park

Head over to downtown Austin on Oct. 31 to support local vendors and artisans at an outdoor marketplace curated by Frida Friday with more than 35 booths from 2 to 8 p.m. There’s something for all ages at this event in Waterloo Park, including make-your-own flower crown workshops, skull installations, a community ofrenda and a children’s story time. Check the park's website for the live music and dance performance schedule. More information: waterloogreenway.org/events/dia-de-los-muertos

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Fandango de los Muertos

Join Latin American theatre company ProyectoTEATRO in a night of candlelit remembrance and tradition at the San José Cemetery on Nov. 2. Decorate tombstones with marigolds and watch theatrical and musical performances to honor the memories of those buried in the historic East Austin cemetery at 718 Montopolis Drive. The tombstone decorating begins at 6 p.m. and visitors who RSVP will receive free Day of the Dead bread. More information: proyectoteatro.com.

Mexican American Cultural Center 

Set aside a couple days to celebrate at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center on 600 River St. with lowriders, community altars, a butterfly release, food trucks and more. The festival takes place 5 to 9 p.m. Nov. 1 and 2, with live music and dance performances from more than 10 groups, including Latin-alternative band Son de Rey. Meander through the Frida Friday ATX Mercado, a marketplace of goods created by an intersectional group of local artisans. Festival attendance requires an RSVP, which you can do at eventbrite.com/e/dia-de-los-muertos-2021-tickets-188448573757More information: spark.adobe.com/page/ttQGk42f07M5q.

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'A Conversation on Cultural Competency '

Tune in for a conversation from noon to 1 p.m. on Oct. 29, covering how to approach diverse traditions with cultural sensitivity. The conversation is part of a collaboration between the Inclusion + Institute and the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. More information: eventbrite.com/e/the-true-meaning-of-day-of-the-dead-honor-tradition-w-cultural-competence-tickets-191191869027.

Fareground 

Until Nov. 5, the bars DRINK and Ellis at downtown food hall Fareground will be crafting specialty marigold-inspired cocktails to celebrate. Fareground will also be decorated with art from Mexico City-based artist Chepe Daniel. More  information: faregroundaustin.com/special-offers/dia-de-los-muertos.

Round Rock Processions and Festival

Round Rock residents and visitors can enjoy the local Día de los Muertos procession and festival at 301 W. Bagdad Ave. on Nov. 6. Visitors are encouraged to dress in their finest calaca, Frida Kahlo, Selena Quintanilla or Prince apparel to attend the celebrations from noon to 8 p.m and to visit local vendors. The procession will arrive at Centennial Plaza at 5:15 p.m. More information: roundrocktexas.gov/city-departments/library-home/get-involved/arts-and-culture/dia-de-los-muertos.