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Photo courtesy of Desert Botanical Garden

A colorful tradition celebrated throughout the American Southwest, Latin America and Mexico, Día de los Muertos or Day of the Dead,  honors and celebrates departed loved ones in a festival setting.

Here’s where you can take part in Día de los Muertos festivities in Phoenix.

Ofrenda – Offering (October 26 – November 4)

Come view Ofrenda installations at the Desert Botanical Garden. The installations are created for this event by local and renowned artists. During this time you can see the interactive altar honoring Día de los Muertos.

The offerings placed on the altar for Dia de los Muertos usually consist of a wash bowl, basin, razors, soap and other items the traveling spirit can use to clean-up after the journey. Pictures of the deceased are also placed on the altar as well as personal belongings for each person and any other offerings the deceased may enjoy. Candles are used to help light the way for the spirits as well as other decorative items such as papel picado (tissue paper cut-outs), wreaths, crosses and flowers.

Día de los Muertos at The Phoenix Symphony (October 27)

Celebrate the Halloween season as Mexico’s Day of The Dead comes to life with The Phoenix Symphony in a Latin flavored performance featuring Mexican Folklore Dance Company, Ballet Folklorico. Sure to be a hit with the entire family, enjoy the color, pageantry and friendly chills, as The Phoenix Symphony both tricks and treats. Come one hour early with children for pre-concert festivities including the instrument petting zoo and crafts celebrating the Halloween season.

Dìa de los Muertos Festival at the Mesa Arts Center (October 27 – 28)

Spirits will connect at the Mesa Arts Center’s annual Dìa de los Muertos Festival – a community celebration complete with a community altar, live music and performances.

The Day of The Dead festival will also feature delicious food, a mercado featuring an assortment of Dìa de los Muertos merchandise, jewelry, arts and crafts, children’s activities, and more.

CALA Alliance Dìa de los Muertos Festival (October 28)

This family-friendly event is free and open to the public. Join the CALA Alliance at Margaret T. Hance Park for the inaugural Día de los Muertos Festival. See Aztec Dancers, La Calaquitas, El Paseo, La Mascarada and Las Coronas, participate in an artist mask-making workshop, march in a colorful procession with eight-foot tall animated puppets, shop the artists’ Mercado, listen to live music, enjoy children’s craft activities, food and much, much more!

Cuisine and Culture of Día de los Muertos (November 1)

Cuisine and Culture of Día de los Muertos kicks off the Día de los Muertos celebration at the Desert Botanical Garden. An interactive experience, the evening begins with the history of Día de los Muertos presented by multimedia artist Zarco Guerrero. The presentation is then followed by dinner catered by Silvana Salcido Esparza, executive chef/owner of Bario Café.

A cash bar will be available serving wine, beer and margaritas. One complimentary margarita will be served upon arrival.

Día de los Muertos: A Celebration of Life Festival (November 3)

The festival in Chandler features traditional music and dance by local performers, storytelling from SMCC Storytelling Institute, children’s activities, folk arts and crafts, ethnic food, the first annual El Katrin / La Katrina contest, community altar, and a candle light procession.

Día de los Muertos, A Celebration of Life through Music (November 3-4)

Commemorate and celebrate your loved ones through music at the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM). MIM and the Consulate General of Mexico in Phoenix present Día de los Muertos, A Celebration of Life through Music. This weekend-long celebration will feature a variety of musical and dance entertainment and activities related to this important Latin American tradition. The Latin America gallery and the Tree of Life exhibit will be highlighted by MIM docents as well.

Día de los Muertos Fall Festival (November 3 – 4)

Enjoy entertainment that will bring the history of Día de los Muertos to life with song, dance and storytelling. Experience the Desert Botanical Garden’s interactive community altar, enjoy delicious food and pastries, and browse through beautiful art and jewelry for purchase in the Garden’s Mercado.

La Procesión (November 4)

The festivities of Día de los Muertos at the Desert Botanical Garden will culminate with La Procesión. The ancient indigenous tradition of marching as a community to ancestral burial sites that honors those who have gone before us.

This year, La Procesión has been expanded to progress from Boppart Courtyard to Ullman Terrace where guests can take part in a unique and interactive memorial by placing candles at the triptych, toasting loved ones, and enjoying continued traditional music and dance.