Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead as it as also known here in the US, is a beautiful and sacred Latino tradition dating back thousands of years. This year, the Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) here in Long Beach is hosting several days worth of celebrations. Those in Long Beach and the surrounding areas are welcome to come to MOLAA to experience the beauty of this holiday, and celebrate loved ones who are no longer with us.
Día de los Muertos Family Festival
Saturday, October 27th
10 am – 5 pm
MOLAA’s annual Día de los Muertos Family Festival will be held this upcoming Saturday from 10 am – 5 pm. For those looking to experience the beauty of this holiday, even if for the first time, this is the place to be. The festival will feature cultural workshops, gallery tours, face painting, craft vendors, food, and live music and performances throughout the day. Admission to this family-fun celebration is free and everyone is welcome. In addition, Día de los Muertos attire is strongly encouraged, so feel free to come dressed up as a calavera (sugar skull)!
As Dr. Lourdes Ramos, President and CEO of MOLAA states, “MOLAA has embraced Día de los Muertos and we’re pleased to present a robust example of this time-honored celebration. Our exhibition and festival will delight traditionalists as well as those who are discovering Día de los Muertos for the first time.”
Details of the day’s events, including schedule of performances, can be found at https://molaa.org/events/2018/10/27/dia-de-los-muertos-festival.
Free After-School Workshop: Sugar Skull Masks
Wednesday, October 31
3:30 – 5:00 pm
October 31 is not only Halloween, but it’s also the first day of Día de los Muertos! Help your kids get into the spirit of the holiday with this fun workshop. During this hands-on art making activity, kids will be able to create their own special sugar skull mask. All materials for this workshop are provided. This is a drop-in workshop, and is first come first serve, so space is limited! Children 12 and under are welcome.
Free After-School Workshop: Mini Nachos
Thursday, November 1
3:30 – 5:00 pm
On the second day of Día de los Muertos, bring the kids back to MOLAA for another fun activity. On this day, they will be making Mini Nachos to help celebrate and honor loved ones. All materials for this workshop are provided. This is a drop-in workshop, and is first come first serve, so space is limited! Children 12 and under are welcome.
Free After-School Workshop: Butterfly Banderitas
Friday, November 2
3:30 – 5:00 pm
November 2 is the third and final day of Día de los Muertos. It is also the third free workshop for kids! Help your children celebrate the return of the spirits by making butterfly banderitas. Banderitas are small paper flags, and will be the perfect way to finish the celebrations of the holiday. All materials for this workshop are provided. This is a drop-in workshop, and is first come first serve, so space is limited! Children 12 and under are welcome.
Beyond the Earth and the Sky: Día de los Muertos Altar Display and Art Exhibition
September 26 – November 11
MOLAA’s Día de los Muertos Exhibition is a juried display open to artists residing in Southern California. This special exhibition will feature art and altars exclusive to Day of the Dead traditions. For those who have never experienced the beauty of Día de los Muertos, or even those who have, this exhibition is not to be missed.
MOLAA will host a celebratory reception for this exhibition on Thursday, November 1 from 7:00 – 8:30 pm. This evening, artists will be in attendance, so you will have the opportunity to meet them and get personal insight into their work.
In addition to the reception exhibition will be available for viewing during regular business hours. MOLAA is located in downtown Long Beach at 628 Alamitos Avenue, and is open Wednesdays – Sundays. Opening times and ticket prices can be found at https://molaa.org/visit/.
About Día de los Muertos
Despite all of the skeletons and skulls, Día de los Muertos is not a spooky holiday. Día de los Muertos is a celebration of the dead and of past loved ones. The holiday recognizes death as a natural part of human experience, and is meant to be celebrated instead of mourned. Those who celebrate it believe that at midnight on October 31, the souls of all deceased children come down from heaven and reunite with their families on November 1, and the souls of deceased adults come visit on November 2.
Assured that the dead would be insulted by mourning or sadness, Día de los Muertos celebrates the lives of the deceased with food, drink, parties, and activities the dead enjoyed in life. Families make colorful altars in their homes in honor of their deceased loved ones, and the altars are decorated with flowers, candles, their loved one’s favorite food and pan de muerto (a slightly sweet bread specifically made for this time). The festivities continue in the cemetery, where families bring picnics, play music and sometimes even spend the night as a way to celebrate the lives of those who are no longer on this earth.
Día de los Muertos is celebrated throughout Latin America, yet is most strongly associated with Mexico, where the tradition originated.