If you live in South or Central Texas, you’ve probably seen brightly-colored “sugar skull” decorations near the Halloween aisle in your grocery store. You can’t miss their vibrancy amidst a sea of orange, but do you know about the rich cultural history behind these iconic symbols?
These decorations are a tribute to Dia de los Muertos, a Mexican holiday that literally translates to “day of the dead.” Ancient pre-Hispanic civilizations in what is now Mexico honored their ancestors through unique rituals of adoration, which eventually evolved into the three-day celebration that we call Dia de los Muertos today. The modern observation of Dia de los Muertos celebrates the lives of deceased family members through festivals and displays of ofrendas.
Ofrendas, colorfully decorated altars, consist of photos of the deceased, water and pan de muerto (bread of the dead) for nourishment upon their return, some of their favorite objects to invite them back, and sugar skulls for decoration. These altars are a central part of Dia de los Muertos since they commemorate the lives of the family members who have passed on.
Since Texas is fortunate enough to have such a rich Mexican heritage, the Texas traveler can celebrate Dia de los Muertos without going south of the Rio Grande. We’ve put together a list of some of the best festivals around the state!
3700 E. Yandell Street, El Paso
November 1st, 2:00-8:00pm
South Alamo Street and Nueva Street, San Antonio
November 1st, 10:00am-11:00pm; November 2nd, 1:00-10:00pm
Downtown Corpus Christi
November 1st, 3:00pm-midnight