Bring your family and friends to celebrate this colorful, heart-­felt tradition at the Gardens! Día de los Muertos costumes are encouraged.

For more than 3,000 years, indigenous people in Mexico practiced the tradition of celebrating death as a natural part of the life cycle. However, more than 500 years ago, the Conquistadors stumbled upon the Aztec Indians practicing this ritual and believed it was mocking death. The Spaniards wanted to make this ritual more Christian, so they moved the dates to coincide with All Saints Day and All Souls Day (Nov. 1 and Nov. 2), when they believed the spirits of the dead visited their families.

For this holiday, families make altars and place offerings (ofrendas) of food and other gifts on them such as:

  • Pan de muertos baked in shapes of skulls
  • Papel picado
  • Candles
  • Incense
  • Yellow marigolds known as cempazuchitl (also spelled zempasuchil)
  • Most importantly, a photo of the dearly departed is placed on the altar

For information about becoming a sponsor or vendor for this event, please email specialevents@botanicgardens.org.

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