The Indigenous people of what is now modern-day Mexico practiced Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, to celebrate the lives of loved ones who passed onto the afterlife and to reunite with their spirits. It has been observed throughout Mexico and parts of Latin America as a multiple-day tradition where families gather at cemeteries and homes to honor the dead through various rituals and customs. Thousands of years later, this tradition is now celebrated globally, primarily on Nov. 1 and 2.
Here are some ways you can partake in festivities around the District:
Nov. 1; 5 - 8 p.m.; Free
Bring a photo of a loved one to honor at the Arlington museum’s community altar. Create arts and crafts, listen to music, and enjoy food from a local food truck.
Nov. 2; 5 - 8:30 p.m.; Free
Create sugar skulls and papel picado, or papier-mâché decorations, for the community altar. Get a La Catrina face painting, enjoy live music, folk dance performances, and more.
Nov. 3 - 19; 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.; $10
This exhibition of contemporary women artists from Oaxaca, Mexico invites you to appreciate the depths of the spiritual tradition. Reserve your ticket beforehand.
Nov. 4; 8:30 - 11:45 p.m.; $144
Dance the night away at the historic mansion. This event features a costume contest, Mariachi music, an open bar, a buffet, and more.
Nov. 4, 1 p.m. - 4 a.m.; Throughout D.C.
At Franklin Park, get your face painted and place offerings on the mobile cross-cultural altar. Then join the procession down 14th Street Northwest to the National Mall. The festival will begin at 4 p.m. at the Washington Monument Grounds. Upload an image of a loved one to be added to a communal altar on the National Mall here.