Across Central and South America, people gather together to honor Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) from November 1st to November 2nd each year. It’s a time where many families in Latin America pay respects at the grave of their dearly departed loved ones or create altars in their homes. In some cultures, such as Oaxaca, México, it’s believed that the almas of the dead can cross back from the spiritual world for the day. In other cultures, such as Uruguay where the day is known as el Día de los Difuntos, it’s a special day to visit the graves of friends and family members.
The Día de los Muertos celebration in México was officially recognized in 2008 by UNESCO as a part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage List. In México, Día de los Muertos is celebrated in most parts of the country with many events including festivals, parades, offerings, dances, music, crafts, and more.
Festivities are expected to look a bit different this year as many major events surrounding the day have been canceled due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Here are a few of the ways you can participate in Día de los Muertos this year from the safety of your own home, including making a piñata, painting sugar skulls, and attending expert-led cultural classes.
Tune into Muertos Fest TV Special
Tune into the virtual one-hour Muertos Fest TV special on Sinclair Broadcasting CW35 in San Antonio. The Día de los Muertos celebration in San Antonio, Texas, is going virtual this year and will be directed by local award-winning filmmaker Jim Mendiola. The 8th annual event will include community altars, stories, and musical guests including Los Lobos, Lila Downs, Carla Morrison, and a special Selena tribute featuring Nina Diaz and Chris Perez on Saturday, October 31, at 7 p.m. (CT), also via livestream November 1 at 7 p.m. (CT) on MuertosFest.com.
Learn How To Make Sugar Skulls & Papel Picado
Learn about the traditions of México’s Day of the Dead celebration from an expert tour guide who will virtually show you all the objects used in a traditional Day of the Dead altar. Your guide will explain the history of the holiday and it’s deeply spiritual meaning. During the 90-minute experience, you’ll also learn how to make sugar skulls and vibrant papel picado. This is a fun family-friendly virtual tour.
Take a Virtual Guide Through Dia De los Muertos Exhibits
Go on a virtual guided tour through Méxican museums. The National Museum of Méxican Art in Chicago is hosting the “Sólo un Poco Aquí: Day of the Dead” online tour led by a museum docent who will discuss key art from the exhibition with virtual dates available through December. Other museums are getting in on the festivities with specialty tours including The Oakland Museum of California Annual El Dia de los Muertos Celebration, the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C., the Mexican American Cultural Center in Austin, and The Nelson Atkins Museum in Kansas City.
Learn How To Make a Homemade Piñata
If you’re having a Día de los Muertos with your COVID-19 pod surprise them with a homemade piñata. You can learn how to make a traditional Méxican piñata as your host discusses the origin and ceremonies of the fun-filled item. You’ll become informed about the basic technique of making the structure and have a blast making your piñata unique with decoration.
Learn How To Make Tamales
Mix up your quarantine cooking routine by learning how to make one of the most iconic and delicious Méxican dishes, tamales. Join a Tamales Fiesta with a Méxican chef who will teach you how to prepare the dish while sharing the history of this dish and the many ways it can be prepared including Oaxaqueños and México City style.
Take a Visual Tour of Ancient México by Anthropologist
For a history lesson, sign up for the Ancient México with an Anthropologist. The visual tour and talk will take you on a journey through México. You’ll learn about Indigenous Pre-Hispanic civilizations, the Mayan art of counting time, the historic pyramids, and sacred stories.
Visit Al Souls Procession Weekend Virtually
Arizona nonprofit Many Mouths One Stomach’s legendary All Souls Procession Weekend is going digital this year. The festive event will include a massive ceremony and several workshops.
Join Day of the Dead Xicago’s Virtual Celebration
Join Day of the Dead Xicago’s virtual celebration on November 1. You can participate by submitting photos of your ofrendas and altares. The event will feature everything from musical performances and face painting demos.
Learn How To Make Mole from Puebla
Another mouth-watering Méxican food is mole sauce. During the Make Mole from Puebla experience, a local chef will take you through the detailed process of making mole from scratch. The lesson will be on how to create “Manchamanteles” Mole, a fruity rendition of mole sauce from Puebla.
Learn How To Make Méxican Desserts
If you prefer to indulge your sweet tooth opt to take the dessert-making class virtually with a chef in México City. During the Sweet Treats class, a professional instructor and culinary artists will teach you how to make three Méxican desserts.