It’s time again for the annual Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Festival in Phoenix. It celebrates the memory of deceased loved ones with processions, colorful music and dance, and traditional displays. The Dia de Los Muertos Festival attracts crowds of more than 10,000 people to St. Mary’s Basilica, a Phoenix Point of Pride and historic building listed on the National Register. This family-friendly event in downtown Phoenix is free to the public. A donation of non-perishable food is suggested to benefit the St. Vincent de Paul Food Bank.
All are invited to experience the art of life, faith, and remembrance with Catrinas (fancy flowered skeletons), mariachi, ballet Folklorico, a local artisan market, free kids’ activities, a lowrider car show, and ofrendas (altars that honor the memory of ancestors). There will also be food trucks and live entertainment by the Power Drive Band.
Local artists will create community ofrendas on which the public is welcome to place 5×7 photos (copies, not originals) of their deceased loved ones. Complimentary paper frames will be provided, and devotional candles to set on the altars will be available for purchase.
History of Día de Los Muertos
Indigenous people of Meso-America had long-held beliefs and traditions related to the dead and their ancestors. After the arrival of the Spanish, the indigenous ritual of commemorating the continuation of life after death was interwoven with two Spanish holidays: All Saints’Day (November 1) and All Souls’ Day (November 2).
Today, Día de Los Muertos is celebrated mostly in Mexico and parts of Central and South America. Most recently it has become popular in Latino communities in the U.S. These colorful celebrations continue to evolve incorporating new and modern traditions.
Día de Los Muertos Festival In Phoenix
The St. Mary’s Basilica Dia de Los Muertos festival will take place all day on Sunday, November 3, 2019, starting at 11 a.m. with a special Mass and procession at the St. Mary’s Basilica Outdoor Plaza at 231 N. 3rd Street, Phoenix, Arizona.
Wander With Wonder will be photographing and writing about this colorful, festive event for an upcoming article.