Day of the Dead Events, Activities – NBC4 Washington

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Día de los Muertos is a two-day celebration that celebrates life and death – a joyous time for people to remember the deceased and honor their memory through festivals, lively celebrations and meaningful offerings.

Family members prepare weeks in advance by creating altars, decorating burial sites, and cooking specific foods. Nov. 1 is typically focused on kids and Nov. 2 is on adults, but the celebrations are up to families and individual communities, said Cynthia Vidaurri, a researcher at the Smithsonian.

While the Day of the Dead originated in Mexico and is most strongly identified, it is a holiday celebrated throughout Latin America and everywhere with a Latino population.

If you choose to celebrate Día de los Muertos, take the time to learn more about the meaning of the day, understand the customs, and learn about traditional practices before participating in the festivities.

The Smithsonian has many helpful resources, including vacation quick facts. The Latino Center has a online exhibition.

Here are the places where you can find celebratory events and activities in honor of the Day of the Dead:

Mexican Cultural Institute

Until November 20, the Mexican Cultural Institute will present Oaxaca in the United States, an event that celebrates the art, culture and traditions of the state of Oaxaca. Throughout the event, the Mexican Cultural Institute will host a traditional Day of the Dead altar for visitors inspired by Oaxacan altars. Entrance is free and tickets are not required.

National Museum of the American Indians

The National Museum of the American Indian will present two traditions at the heart of Day of the Dead. Following two different artists, the museum will present the art of making traditional figures from sugar and papier-mâché. The pre-recorded event will take place online and is free to the public.

National portrait gallery

Monday November 1 from 6.30 p.m. to 8.30 p.m., the National Portrait Gallery will celebrate Día de los Muertos with an open-air festival of music and art. The museum will create a community altar on the steps of the museum, inviting visitors to learn more about the history of the celebration. Several artists will be screening a live digital painting, video and sound performance to honor DC’s Latino community. The event is free to the public.

Smithsonian Museum of American Art

The Smithsonian American Art Museum will host an online celebration of the Día de los Muertos on October 30 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. The event will include a virtual performance by the Ballet Folklórico Mi Herencia Mexicana, demonstrating several Mexican folk dances. The event is free but registration is required via Eventbrite.

5th Annual Día de los Muertos Benefit Festival

On November 6, Día de los Muertos DC will host its 5th annual Día de los Muertos fundraising festival at the National Mall. The festival will run from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and will include art, music, an altar, a parade, as well as several Catrinas, the Lady of the Dead. The event is free but registration is encouraged.

Muertos Day Festival

The Catholic University of America is organizing a Día de los Muertos Fest on November 6 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The festival aims to honor the richness of Mexican culture and its traditions. It will offer different activities for children and adults, including live mariachis, an altar, dancing and more. General admission is free but tickets are compulsory. If you’re interested in attending the altar or purchasing a kids’ package, which includes face paint and a craft kit, tickets are $ 15- $ 20.


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