The end of summer and beginning of fall means the season of breezes, boots and Dia de Los Muertos is upon us. The Day of the Dead Mexican holiday is traditionally celebrated the first days of November, but if you live in Southern California, you can catch events throughout October and November.
The legendary celebration at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery and the classic Olvera Street are not to be missed, but there are plenty of places around the San Fernando Valley where you can honor your loved ones. Peep the guide below for a list of Dia de Los Muertos events taking place near your neighborhood. We even threw in some Halloween happenings for good measure.
If you’re in need of a little inspiration, check out the gallery of Day of the Dead looks called “Death Never Looked So Good.” Don’t forget to check back as we update this article with more events as they come up. Leave us a comment if we forgot anything.
Here’s to honoring the spirits of the past who make us who we are today.
Friday, Oct. 25, 2013
Pioneer Cemetery, 14451 Bledsoe St., Sylmar, 8 p.m. $15 presale, $20 at the door.
The San Fernando Valley Historical Society, Los Angeles Mission College drama club and Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural & Bookstore team up for a four-day event at Pioneer Cemetery. The theatrical production “Voices of Pioneer Cemetery: Flashlight Ghost Tour” returns on Oct. 25 and 26 while Tia Chucha’s continues the celebration on Nov. 1 and 2 (see below). The production will feature characters from the cemetery’s historical records. Bring a flashlight, wear comfortable shoes for the walking tour and leave the little ones under age seven at home. Buy tickets here.
Day of the Dead
Sepulveda Recreation Center, 8801 Kester Ave., Panorama City, 6-10 p.m. Free.
At the core of Dia de los Muertos is family and community, and this event in Panorma City is just that. Join the San Fernando Arts Collective as they present an Azteca dance ceremony and the chance to build an altar for loved ones.
Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013
Art in Motion — Halloween Edition
Pacoima City Hall, 13520 Van Nuys Blvd., Pacoima, 3-8 p.m. Free.
Join the Valley’s b-boy and b-girl dance crew, the GR818ERS, as they present a special Halloween edition of their monthly Art in Motion event. Check out the live art show, DJs, open mic sessions, dancing and a costume contest. Best dressed goes home with a prize!
Tia Chucha’s Week-Long Celebration
Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural & Bookstore, 13197 Gladstone Ave., Sylmar. Oct. 27-Nov 2, free.
It wouldn’t be Dia de Los Muertos without Tia Chucha’s. You don’t really have an excuse to miss their festivities since they’ll host workshops and programming throughout the week on site and continue the authentic Day of the Dead celebration at Pioneer Cemetery on Nov. 2 (see below).
Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013
Dia de Los Muertos at Mission College
Los Angeles Mission College (in the quad), 13356 Eldridge Ave., Sylmar, 5:30-9 p.m. Free.
MEChA de LAMC and the Chicana/o Studies Department of Los Angeles Mission College never fail to keep us covered when it comes to Mexican holidays. Join them in the free speech area for spoken word, theatre, food, art and, of course, altars. Contact Salvador Valentin if you’re interested in vending or call (818) 833-3412.
Friday, Nov. 1, 2013
MEChA’s Dia de Los Muertos
California State University, Northridge (Chicano House), 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge, 6 p.m.-midnight. Free.
The MEChA group at CSUN hosts a two-day event beginning with the noche de ofrenda, a time to tell stories, reflect on loved ones, share food, recite poetry and view the altars. The larger celebration takes place the following night when there will be live music, danzas, vendors, food, speakers and elaborate altars.
Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013
Plaza de la Raza, 3540 North Mission Road, Los Angeles, 7 p.m.-1 a.m. $10 presale, $15 at the door.
El Velorio has sort of become a notorious Day of the Dead event around here, and it’s not even held in the Valley. That’s partly because the Valley’s own Antonio Pelayo throws the event every year and supports local artists, but more so because it’s thee event to be at for a mixture of nightlife and cultural celebration. This year’s event is a benefit for Plaza de la Raza hosted by actor Jacob Vargas and featuring La Sonora Dinamita. Bring cash for the bar and Mexicali Taco. Buy tickets here.
Starmakers Dance Academy, 6729 Variel Ave., Canoga Park, 9 p.m. Free.
A night to celebrate life by honoring the dead with local art, live music, vendors, food, face painting and live painting by The Davok and OMES. Sponsored byIntellektive and Uberalles Clothing. For vendor information, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tia Chucha’s Day of the Dead
San Fernando Pioneer Memorial Cemetery, 14451 Bledsoe St., Sylmar, 3-9 p.m. Free.
A first-ever collaboration between local nonprofit groups in Sylmar will bring to life a unique and authentic week-long spirited observance of Dia de los Muertos. See above for events earlier in the week, and join both the San Fernando Valley Historical Society and Tia Chucha’s for live music, art, vendors and calavera face painting.