Lest you be confused by the painted faces and creative attire, Dia De Los Muertos isn’t a Mexican Halloween. It’s a community celebration of lives well lived and a wonderful festival for the entire family. This Saturday, November 2nd one open lot in downtown Birmingham will be absolutely transformed into a sea of colorful lights and displays celebrating the lives of loved ones who passed on. Dia De Los Muertos, also known as Day of the Dead, is an ancient Mexican holiday that corresponds with the celebration of All Saints Day and dates back to the Aztec calendar. Families will build altars to loved ones – not church altars exactly but rather highly creative, colorful installations that celebrate the person’s interests. For example, one altar may include the deceased’s lifelong work while another might include his/her favorite bottle of whiskey. It sounds a bit morbid but it is a true celebration of life through art and extraordinary creativity. When someone says that they want to be celebrated in death – this is it.
This is an event for kids. Early in the evening, children will enjoy getting their face painted and several crafts which include mask decorating and marigold mourning paper. Through art, Day of the Dead removes the fear and macabre sense we have created around skeletons and coffins (thanks to Halloween) and brings those images back to a place of love and community. It takes the sting out of death and therefore it isn’t scary. No part of Day of the Dead is scary.
Aside from the craft area, the visual interest and music is plenty. You’ll enjoy wandering through the collection of memorials, the energy of the celebration and, perhaps, in your own moment remembering and celebrating your own loved ones. Enjoy food from Cantina, Cosmos, Shindigs, Spoonfed Grill and Mi Pueblo. The event begins at 4pm and lasts until 11pm. Admission is $10 for adults, $3 for children ages 7-12 and free for children under 7. For additional information about the schedule, visit their website.