Día de los Muertos Festival Round-Up

Most cultures set aside time to honor those who have passed away. The Mexican tradition of Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is widely celebrated in San Jose with festivals that include art, music, dance, food, and time spent with friends and family in remembrance.


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Día de Los Muertos Festival (10/22)

Despite the name, the Día de Los Muertos Festival is a celebration of life and is a time to remember fondly those who have passed. This festival features music from local artists, traditional Mexican dances, sugar skulls, Lucha Libre, and displays of costumes and art related to the holiday’s cultural roots.


Downtown Día de los Muertos Procession and Festival (10/23)

Art is at the center of this event to honor the dearly departed, as people process to an exhibition of traditional and contemporary alters by local artists. Guests are encouraged to wear their Muertos costumes and bring pictures to help construct a community altar for loved ones who have passed. The procession begins at City View Plaza and will finish behind Martin Luther King Jr. Library, on the San Jose State Campus, where the festival takes place. The festival will include a variety of activities and entertainment for the entire family, including a children’s art and culture camp, food and art vendors, and an altar exhibition artists’ talk.


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Día de Los Muertos (10/29)

Calvary Cemetery, in association with the Silicon Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, honors and remembers deceased family and friends at this cultural and spiritual celebration. Their 7th Annual Día de Los Muertos festival will feature traditional rituals, music, dance, face painting, children’s crafts, food, art, and a community altar for attendees to place their photos and memorabilia on.


El Día de Los Muertos Community Day (10/29)

San Jose Museum of Art will host a festive family event with live performances, cultural demonstrations, and artmaking experiences for all ages. Dress up like a calaca, or skeleton performer, and participate in a costume contest. Marja van der Loo, curatorial associate, will give a Spanish-language tour of the exhibition Beauty: Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial. Decorate calaveras de azúcar, or sugar skulls, and explore other traditional activities during this day-long celebration.


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La Ultima Parada San Jose (10/30)

San Jose’s long-standing Día de Los Muertos celebration, La Ultima Parada, is an all-day spectacular. La Ultima Parada plans to showcase the vibrancy of the Día de Los Muertos celebration and Mexican culture through a collection of cultural festivities, dances, and musical performances to honor the living and the dead. Adorned altars and a graveyard will be on display for the viewing pleasure of guests. The event will also include a ferris wheel and other family-friendly activities, like face-painting, sugar skull decorating, and mask-making. The School of Arts and Culture at Mexican Heritage Plaza, a contemporary cultural landmark in San Jose, opens its doors to La Ultima Parada, providing the perfect venue for this celebration.


Related Performance:

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Macario (10/13–10/23)

A poor woodcutter, whose sole dream in life is to experience a day without hunger, is caught at a crossroads when his dream comes true. Teatro Visión’s Macario is a Día de los Muertos celebration full of music, dance, spectacle, and inspiration. This performance is based on B. Traven’s novel and the Academy Award-nominated film adaptation. The whole family can enjoy this show, and it makes a beautiful holiday tradition. This year’s performance features new choreography by Samuel Cortez, artistic director of beloved local folklórico group Los Lupeños de San José. Macario is performed in Spanish with English supertitles.

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