The Day of the Dead, or el Dia de Los Muertos, is a Mexican holiday in which families welcome back the souls of their deceased relatives for a brief reunion. The holiday is celebrated every year from October 31-November 2. According to tradition, the gates of heaven are opened October 31 at midnight and the spirits of children are able to rejoin their families for 24 hours. The same happens for adults on November 2.
Living family members treat the dead as honored guests in their celebrations. They leave the deceased’s favorite foods and other offerings at gravesites or on ofrendas built in their homes. Ofrendas are often decorated with candles, bright marigolds, and red cock’s combs.
Living in New Mexico, we get to see cultures meld together. We get to have both modern celebrations and see century’s old traditions intertwine. Celebrating Dia de Los Muertos, we get to honor our ancestors and celebrate our culture.
There are so many great events in Albuquerque to celebrate Dia de Los Muertos this year. Check them out below. Events are listed by date.
October 27 – November 4
Imagine strolling through Old Town in the week leading up to Dia de Los Muertos (October 27 – November 4, 2023). Joyful live music is heard from various patios as you pass shops and plazas decorated with countless orange and yellow marigold flowers, nicknamed the “Marigold Mile,” where over 30,000 marigold flowers are arranged into garlands that stretch more than a mile across Old Town! Then wander each hidden patio as it reveals ornately decorated ofrendas remembering those who have gone before us with calaveras and pictures of loved ones. As night falls, the plaza lights up with hues of orange and red as a candlelight procession proceeds from San Felipe de Neri Church and the 300-year-old New Mexican tradition of the Matachinas tells the symbolic story of good vs evil as they dance to the beat of an ancient drum. This is just a taste of what one may experience while in Old Town this Dia de los Muertos season.
October 27 & 28
Santa Fe Plaza
Commemorate the iconic Día de Muertos tradition of Mexico in a free two-day Day of the Dead celebration on the historic Santa Fe Plaza. Enjoy colorful decorations and festive mariachi music 4 – 10 p.m. on Friday, October 27, 2023. On Saturday, October 28, the 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. celebration continues with music, decorative ofrendas–-commemorative altars––and a Candlelight Parade.
This year, participants can select from a timed 5K event for runners and walkers and an untimed one-mile strut and stroll for strollers and pets. Whether you are walking, jogging, or running your way to the finish line, we look forward to cheering you on in your Dia de los Muertos attire!
Sunday, October 29, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
8917 4th Street NW, Albuquerque
Bring your family for a celebration of life. The celebration will include local folk art vendors, a free sugar skull workshop, festival food on the Farm and Table patio, live music, pet blessing, and a community altar.
November 5, 12:00 pm
Gutierrez-Hubbell House 6029 Isleta Blvd. SW, Albuquerque
A walking parade in the South Valley.
Do you know of any other Dia de Los Muertos events in Albuquerque? Email us [email protected] and let us know!