What do you get when you meld SoCal’s huge Hispanic population with Hollywood flair? The best Day of the Dead celebrations north of the border, that’s what. This year’s best events are a mix of the traditional and appropriated versions of the Mexican holiday that remembers friends and family who have passed on.
Dia de Los Muertos
Hollywood Forever Cemetery
6000 Santa Monica Blvd.
Hollywood, CA. 90038
Nov. 2 (12pm to 12am)
The 14th annual “Dia de Los Muertos” event will feature Saul Hernandez, the legendary vocalist and former lead singer of the bands Caifanes and Jaguares. The theme for this year’s celebration is El Magico Mundo de Los Alebrijes or The Magical World of Alebrijes. Alebrijes are brightly colored Mexican folk art sculptures of fantastical creatures and were first created by Pedro Linares in the 1930’s. While sick, he dreamt of the creatures, and recreated his vistions in cardboard and paper mache. Today, Alebrijes are a big part of Oaxacan culture and the “Dia de Los Muertos” event.
Buy Tickets: hollywoodforever.ticketfly.com
HARD Day Of The Dead
LA State Historic Park
1245 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA. 90012
Nov. 2 and 3
One of the biggest EDM festivals in Southern California also comes with a Halloween theme, which means an overload of glowsticks and skimpy costumes alongside sugar skulls and folk art. At the Red Bull Music Academy Discotheque and Underground Stage, epic techno legend Giorgio Moroder will be headlining alongside dubstep trendsetter Skrillex and Deadmau5. Cirez D will also make his first LA appearance. And don’t think it’s all about DJs; live performances by The Bloody Beetroots and Kavinsky top off the bill.
Bands playing include Skrillex, Deadmau5, the Masters At Work, Boys Noize, Maya Jane Coles, Nero, Bloody Beetroots, Eric Prydz, Baauer, Calvin Harris, Lights, Giorgio Moroder and Chris Cox.
11th Annual Noche de Altares
4th and Birch Streets
Santa Ana, CA 92701
Nov. 1 (1pm to 10pm)
Orange County’s best Day of the Dead celebration is also the celebration that’s truest to its origins in Mexico. Held in Santa Ana, the biggest Hispanic community in the county, Noche de Altares is a free community-based event organized by volunteers from El Centro Cultural de Mexico and Calacas. The purpose of the celebration is to honor the ancient traditions of the festival and bring community members together through art, culture, and compassion.
Community members build altars on the street in memory of a deceased loved one or to bring awareness to a social issue. In the past, participants have dedicated their altars to soldiers who have died in war, women who have made a significant impact in history, and people who have died of AIDS, cancer, and diabetes. There will also be cultural performances, live music, face painting and art exhibits..
Rob Zombie’s Great American Nightmare
1101 West McKinley Avenue
Pomona, CA. 91768
6:30 to 11pm (Thursday & Sunday), 6:30 to 1am (Friday & Saturdays) through November 2
Rob Zombie’s horror extravanza has as much to do with the traditional Dia De Los Muertos as HARD Day of the Dead, but since Rob Zombie is performing the Nov. 2 event with Eagles Of Death Metal and Powerman 5000, we can’t see a better way to celebrate than checking out his 45,000 square foot haunted house based on Zombie’s own horror films: Lords Of Salem Total Black Out, The Haunted World Of El Superbeasto 3D, and Haunt Of 1,000 Corpses.
Día de los Muertos Festival
Museum of Latin American Art
628 Alamitos Ave.
Long Beach, 90802
Oct 27 (12 to 4pm)
The celebration of life and love at MOLAA’s annual Festival helps kids learn more about Día de los Muertos through art workshops, live performances, gallery tours, food, face painting, craft vendors and more. The winners of their Altar Contest will be on display, as well as a community altar. The clincher? A display of José Guadalupe Posada’s prints. (Dressing as a calavera is highly encouraged.)
Merchants Dia de los Muertos
The Gazeba Plaza on Olvera Street (El Pueblo Historical Monument)
125 Paseo de la Plaza
Los Angeles, CA. 90012
Processions: Oct. 25 to Nov 2 (7 to 9pm)
Fiesta Muertos: Nov. 1-2 (10am to 6pm)
It makes sense that Olvera Street, in the oldest part of downtown Los Angeles, should be celebrating Dia de los Muertos for nine days as part of the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument. This celebration of departed loved ones includes nine evenings of colorful processions, altar displays, music and refreshments. Novenaria processions begin on Olvera Street at 7 p.m. nightly. November 3-4 is Fiesta Muertos, with children’s workshops, face painting and free entertainment all weekend. The art exhibit “Sacred Memory: Honoring the Dead Across Cultures” runs Oct. 19 to Nov. 19 at the Pico House daily.
View Best Day Of The Dead Celebrations In L.A. in a full screen map