This traditional Mexican holiday honors loved ones who’ve passed. It’s a celebration, not a funeral. Here’s 10 ways to celebrate it in NC from Asheville to Morehead City.
Day of the Dead, or Día de los Muertos, is a Mexican holiday traditionally celebrated on the first two days of November that honors those who have passed. Families come together to celebrate their loved ones and cities are filled with parades, music, ornately decorated sugar skulls, and flowers.
According to the 2021 U.S. Census Bureau, half of North Carolina’s Hispanic population traces their origins to Mexico, meaning you can find Day of the Dead celebrations from Asheville all the way to Morehead City. And while Nov. 1-2 are the most common days to celebrate, you’ll see fiestas begin in late October or even as late as Nov. 6.
One of the most important pieces of Dia de los Muertos is the ofrenda, which is like an altar honoring the lives of loved ones. Think of it as a celebration of life, not a funeral. It’s an occasion for love and joy.
Here are 10 to get you started:
Day of the Dead Carnival
There will be food, music, and dancing on Saturday, Oct. 28 at the Whirligig Park in Wilson, NC.
Dia de los Muertos Sister Cities Fundraiser
Asheville is hosting a fundraiser and celebration for its two sister cities in Mexico, Valladolid and San Cristóbal de las Casas on Sunday, Oct. 29, just outside of Asheville in the Weaverville Community Center.
There will be altars for loved ones, a candlelight procession, face painting, and the tickets include a traditional Day of the Dead meal.
Dia de los Muertos Celebration
The Latino Union of Eastern North Carolina will be at Carteret Community College on Thursday, Nov. 2, and invite the community to join them in their celebration.
Young painters can enter their Day of the Dead-inspired work in the art exposition, there will be a Calavera makeup contest, a communal altar, and appetizers!
Dia De Los Muertos Festival
The Backstreet Pub is hosting their second annual Day of the Dead block party on Thursday, Nov. 2. The day will be filled with cultural activities, Mexican foods and drinks, salsa music, and a showing of Pixar’s movie Coco.
If you haven’t seen “Coco,” it’s a delightful children’s movie about a 12-year-old boy named Miguel and his journey to the land of the dead to visit his ancestors.
If you would like to create an ofrenda, email Liz Kopf at [email protected] for more information.
Day of the Dead
The City of Raleigh Museum is welcoming the public to participate in their 7th Annual Day of the Dead celebration on Friday, Nov. 3. There will be cultural performances, face painting, crafts, traditional pan de muerto (a Mexican sweet bread associated with the holiday), and an altar by local artist Lety Alvarez.
Dia de los Muertos Belly Dance Hafla & Fundraiser
Located on the second floor of the Art for Art’s Sake building in Winston-Salem, this Day of the Dead event is fundraising for survivors of domestic violence and a Fur-Ever Friends of North Carolina.
$15 tickets are available at the door until sold out.
Dia De Los Muertos
Onslow County Parks and the Onslow Hispanic Latino Association invite the public to this free community event on Friday, Nov. 3. Guests can enjoy crafts, games, food trucks, and a showing of Coco!
Festival Día de Muertos
Camp North End will have a day of filled with Día de los Muertos staples. There will be an altar exhibition, face painting, dance performances, Mexican cuisine, and more!
Dia de los Muertos 4th Annual Celebration
The Mount Airy Museum of Regional History is hosting its annual Dia de los Muertos celebration on Saturday, Nov. 4.
This free event will have a community ofrenda, food trucks, live music, raffles, and prizes.
Casa Azul’s Dia De Los Muertos 2023
Casa Azul’s annual Ofrenda Exhibition is open for viewing from Nov. 1 – Nov. 11 at the Greensboro Cultural Center. It’s created by local organizations, individual community members, and Latino artists.
There will also be cultural performances on Nov. 4 featuring Ballet Folklóico Corazón de Mexico, and “La Reina de Mariachi,” Maria Elena Valdez.
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