Dia De Los Muertos: All Saints Day

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We live in San Diego which spoils us with perfect weather nearly 365 days a year. It also spoils us with different cultures and traditions. There is one tradition that has grown in popularity over the years, and that is Dia De Los Muertos, also known as All Saints Day. It’s the celebration of the unity of life and death and it is considered to be one of the most important holidays of the year in Mexico and in many other countries. The tradition of celebrating Dia De Los Muertos is common in countries highly influenced by Roman Catholic heritage. The holiday extends to parts of Europe and Asia. The symbol commonly associated with the holiday: the decorated skull.

Dia De Los Muertos is a day of observance and remembrance for loved ones who have come and gone before us. Those who celebrate the holiday in a more traditional manner will begin the day by attending a mass or religious service followed by a visit to the cemeteries to visit the grave sites of their loved ones. Once there, family members will clean the gravestone, put up flower arrangements, candles, and some will even hire a banda, or a music group to play favorite songs of the dead. Families will also gather around and share a meal while also sharing stories of their deceased loved ones.

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Other ways to celebrate the tradition is to set up altars and pray for the souls of the departed. Many will leave drinks and food, especially the favorite dishes of their loved ones on the altar as a way of pleasing the souls believed to be accompanying the living. The purpose is to invite the souls of the dead to reunite with their loved ones.

In Latin America, and even in some communities here in the United States, people will celebrate with a Dia De Los Muertos procession. In fact, San Diego’s Old Town holds an annual traditional two-day celebration culminating in a candlelight procession to the historic El Campo Santo Cemetery.

Old Town San Diego: Dia De Los Muertos, Novermber 1-2, 1 p.m. – 9 p.m.

As one of the primary traditions connected with the holiday, the Old Town festivities will have a large focus on the building of altars honoring the dead. You can come and explore the different types of altars and the rituals behind each of them. There will also be art exhibits, face painting, food and drink specials, workshops and activities.

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“Old Town’s legacy has a predominance of Mexican, Spanish, and Native American and as a general melting pot, makes it the best site in San Diego to hold this special event where the spirits of loved ones who have died return to earth to celebrate this holiday with friends and family.”

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Don’t miss out on this family event! You can find more information here.

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Vanessa Turkeltaub
Vanessa Turkeltaub graduated from UC San Diego with a BA in Communication. She has been with Blue Book Publishers for over 5 years, and has written over five-hundred La Jolla related articles. She enjoys going to concerts, art, and traveling. (vanessa@lajollabluebook.com)

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