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San Diego County to host virtual Dia de los Muertos festival

Celebrating and honoring family: Dia de los Muertos events in San Diego
Posted at 5:18 PM, Oct 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-01 20:26:33-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — In lieu of traditional Dia de los Muertos events that invite San Diegans to honor their loved ones in-person, the county is hosting a virtual festival this year.

San Diego County's Parks and Recreation Department will hold a virtual celebration from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 1. The online festival will feature dance performances, a cultural storytime, and an arts and crafts workshop:

The festival will also include a tour of the Rancho Guajome Adobe, an authentic 1850s adobe hacienda located in Vista that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The holiday originated thousands of years ago in Mesoamerica (Mexico and northern Central America). Dia de los Muertos is not a somber holiday. Rather than mourning, ancient Aztecs, Mayans, and Toltec celebrated and honored the dead by providing food, water, and tools to aid their journey into the afterlife. These are the days their souls were believed to return to earth, and altars were used to help them find their way home.

Today, the ritual has grown beyond Mexico but continues as a show of appreciation for the joy our loved ones brought to our lives.

During Dia de los Muertos, we honor those that passed away with colorful arts and crafts, foods, costumes, and parades. Offerings are often set around a brightly decorated altar, known as “offrendas,” which includes radiant marigold flowers, decorated “calaveras” (skulls), photos, desserts, and candles.

Participants of today's festivities can pick up craft kits free of charge, though a $4 donation is appreciated, from five county parks and community centers this weekend, including:

Heritage County Park: 2454 Heritage Park Row, San Diego; Hours: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily; Phone: 877-565-3600

Rancho Guajome Adobe: 2210 N. Santa Fe Ave., Vista; Hours: (Visitor Center and Adobe): 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays; Phone: 760-724-4082

San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve and Nature Center: 2710 Manchester Avenue, Cardiff-by-the-Sea; Hours: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., daily; Phone: 760-634-3026

Sweetwater Summit Regional Park: 3218 Summit Meadow Road, Bonita; Hours: 9:30 a.m. – sunset, daily; Phone: 619-472-7572

Waterfront Park: 1600 Pacific Highway, San Diego; Hours: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. daily; Phone: 619-232-7275

Participants are encouraged to call ahead of time to make sure supplies are still available.

Old Town San Diego is not holding its annual Dia de los Muertos events, but businesses in the area will display altars, art, and decorations to mark the day from Oct. 15 - Nov. 17.


COVID-19 Altar de Muertos: In honor of Dia de Muertos and the nearly 900 San Diegans who have died due to COVID-19, San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher and Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, will hold a Day of the Dead ceremony Sunday at the County Administration Center.

"The COVID-19 Altar de Muertos is our way of remembering those we have lost to this horrible virus," said Fletcher, co-chair of the county's COVID-19 Subcommittee.

"It provides an opportunity to reflect on the effect COVID-19 has had on all communities, but we should be paying special attention to the disproportionate impact it has made on Black, Brown and other communities of color. Every death because of COVID counts. Every life lost to COVID matters. It is now time to rededicate ourselves to protecting one another by taking the actions needed to slow the spread," he said.

The ceremony at 5:30 p.m. to dedicate the COVID-19 Altar de Muertos will be live streamed. Viewing locations will be on Fletcher's Facebook and Twitter, https://www.facebook.com/SupervisorFletcherSD/ and https://twitter.com/SupFletcher.