The Day of the Dead, or el Día de los Muertos, is the celebration of deceased family members and ancestors. It is a 3,000-year-old tradition rooted in the native Mexican belief that we spend our lives on earth preparing for the next world, so as a result they celebrate their relations to these people rather than grieve. Though it often gets conflated with Halloween and its spooky festivities, the Day of the Dead is actually a great time for communities to join together and honor each other’s families.
Luckily for us, the ethnic mosaic of New York City allows us to both learn more about other cultures and also celebrate our own in a variety of ways. Here are a couple of ways to celebrate the Mexican traditions of el Día de los Muertos and support these communities.
They are offering a variety of performances as well as workshops that will help you create offerings to leave at the altar for your loved ones. This ceremony also encourages visitors to bring copies of photos of their deceased loves ones to leave at the ofrenda. There will also be a marketplace available all day in which you can purchase Mexican food, sweets, and art. St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery, manoamano.us
The Brooklyn Children’s Museum invites families and children of all ages to join them in a series of art classes, dance workshops, and even a kitchen tutorial on how to make Pan de Muertos. 145 Brooklyn Avenue, Brooklyn, brooklynkids.org
Arts, Culture & Fun: Dia De Los Muertos
Held in partnership with the Mexican Coalition for the Empowerment of Youth and Partnership for Parks, this holiday celebration is perfect for people of all ages. They aim to celebrate the Dia de los Muertos in a colorful way that showcases the Mexican culture. St. Mary’s Park, Bronx, nycgovparks.org
Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead
Visit the National Museum of the American Indian to gain a very tactile understanding of the Mexican holiday. Hands-on activities include embellishing paper skull masks, decorating skeleton puppets, creating paper flowers, and painting plaster skulls. One Bowling Green, americanindian.si.edu
Border Crossings: This and Other Worlds
Border Crossings is a three-day program honoring the cross over of global practices that celebrate those who have passed away, including aspects of el Dia de los Muertos in Mexico, the Buddhist and Taoist “Ghost Festival,”,the Christian All Souls Day, and the Chinese celebration of “Tomb Sweeping Day.” Drawing inspiration from the Dia de los Muertos altars, Sunset Park artist Adrian Viajero Roman will be designing an altar for the community. The program will offer a series of free and low-cost performances, workshops, and talks that are open to the public. 25th Street and Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn, green-wood.com