A Mexican holiday dating back hundreds of years, Día de los Muertos originated with the Mexica (popularly known as the Aztecs). Before Spanish colonization, the celebration took place during the summer. Later it was moved to autumn in order to coincide with the Catholic celebrations of All Saints’ Eve, All Saints’ Day, and All Souls’ Day.
The modern iteration of the Día de los Muertos includes three days representing three related, but separate, ideologies — chock full of inspiring traditions that bring both closure as well as the feeling of time spent with a loved one who has passed. The celebrations are bright and elaborate, and they include the building of ofrendas (private altars) in celebration of the departed; honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds (the flower of the dead), and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed; and bringing gifts and belongings to graves. Other traditions include muertos (the bread of the dead); cardboard skeletons; tissue paper garlands; fruit and nuts; incense; and other traditional foods and decorations. The holiday is now celebrated around the world, and each culture brings their own unique twist to it.
The three days celebrate those who came before us and who have passed on. Death is an integral part of life, and one that we all experience, and Día De Los Muertos celebrations bring comfort and understanding instead of fear. During the end of October into early November, gatherings and parades are held throughout the state. Whether you celebrate every year or you’re simply checking it out for the first time, these community celebrations welcome you with open arms as you honor your own loved ones.
The Days of the Dead:
- October 31st — All Hallows Eve, Halloween
- November 1st — Día de los Inocentes, All Saints’ Day
- November 2nd — the Day of the Dead, All Souls’ Day
Day of the Dead & Halloween Events
Día de los Muertos in Santa Fe
October 28 & 29, 2022
Bienvenidos to a new tradition in the Santa Fe holiday calendar! A Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration. Said to have originated in Mexico, Día de Muertos represents a time to honor and reconnect with the dead in a uniquely beautiful and meaningful manner. Join us on the Santa Fe Plaza on both Friday, October 28 and Saturday, October 29.
Día de los Muertos at the Museum of International Folk Art
Hands-on activities for ages 3 to 103. Enjoy live music, contribute to the community altar, and enjoy seasonal refreshments. Costumes are encouraged, not required.
Día de los Muertos in Mesilla
Expect lots of music, folklorico dancing, food, and altars constructed for dearly departed family members. This community event is free to the public and held on the historic Mesilla plaza.
Día de los Muertos Celebrations in Albuquerque
In Albuquerque, Día de los Muertos celebrations take place over several weeks in October and November, though the holiday is traditionally celebrated between October 31st and November 2nd. Here are a few upcoming events in the Albuquerque area:
Ofrendas Comunitarias Exhibit
Please join Muertos y Marigolds in conjunction with the @Gutierrez Hubbell House Alliance for our community ofrenda exhibit opening. This will be a family event. Eleven community organizations and schools have created community ofrendas that will be featured at the GHH from October 8th - November 13th. Please show your support by visiting the exhibit sometime in the next month!
Victorian Halloween Cemetery Picnic
Historic Fairview Cemetery is holding a Victorian-style picnic on Sunday, October 30 from 11:00 a.m. until dark. Bring your own picnic foods and drinks, folding chairs, tables and decor, and wear your Steampunk finery!
Activities include a scavenger hunt with prizes, sugar skull T-shirt painting, and on-site vendors of Muerto-themed items. Other surprises are in store.
A participation fee of $15 will help cover the port-a-potty and T-shirts. Cash only at the event. Please RSVP to Lisa Roberts by October 24. Call or text to 505-331-2888. Your response will help us plan how many T-shirts to purchase. See you at this fun event in the cemetery!
Paranormal Ghost Tour at The Belen Harvey House Museum
The Belen Harvey House Museum has teamed up with Duke City Paranormal Research Society for an evening of serious paranormal investigation October 28, 2022, October 29, 2022. Guests will participate in small groups to include the basement, main floor, and the upstairs bedrooms. Tickets must be purchased online in advance. www.harveyhousemuseum.org
National Hispanic Culture Center
Noche de Familia October 21, 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Join us at the Center for an evening of Halloween fun for the whole family! Our Noche de Familia will feature trick-or-treating, artmaking, music, and a free screening of Coco at 7:00 pm.
Taos Halloween Community Event
On Monday, October 31, 2022, from 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM, the ghoulish fun will be spilled out from the Taos Plaza over to Teresina Lane, to Juan Largo Lane, slithering its way to the John Dunn Shops and Bent Street. The event will provide the children of Taos with a fun, safe, and supervised Halloween Event.
Los Alamos Halloweekend
Friday, Oct. 28-Sunday, Oct. 30, features a variety of festive and spooky holiday events for the entire family.
The primary event during the weekend is Trick–or–Treat on MainStreet, which will haunt downtown Los Alamos again on Friday, Oct. 28, 2022 from 4-6 p.m. Part of Central Avenue closes to auto traffic and becomes a safe pedestrian area where local businesses and organizations distribute candy to costumed families. While businesses in the downtown area open their doors to the public, this is also an opportunity for businesses and organizations that are not located in the downtown area to be involved. The weekend’s festivities attract thousands of people.