El Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead)
While North America has the festival of Halloween, a different kind of celebration takes place south of the border just a day later: El Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is an indigenous Mexican holiday when the living pay respect to their ancestors.
With origins tracing back some 3,000 years, the national holiday includes rituals like building private altars for ancient family members, which are then decorated with sugar skulls, flowers and food. The tradition has spread across the nation and into the US state of California, where for the past 13 years the city of L.A. has celebrated a holiday not often found north of the Mexican border.
Held at the iconic Hollywood Forever Cemetery (last resting place of legends like Valentino and DeMille), the L.A. Day of the Dead pays tribute to the historic holiday, albeit with a Hollywood twist – here, it’s a jam-packed day of cultural arts and crafts, historical and modern dance rituals, live musical performances, and a chance to indulge in a Mexican feast from some of the city’s best food vendors.
For the tots, there’s an arts area presented by LACMA, and for everyone, there’s a competitive costume contest for the best dressed Calaca (skeleton costume). And since this fun, family-friendly activity is held on the Saturday before October 31st, it means the sweet-toothed kiddies will still get a chance to knock on some doors on the actual day. A holiday so nice, it’s worth celebrating twice!