Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a holiday traditionally celebrated on November 1st and 2nd, though other days, such as October 31st or November 6th, may be included depending on the locality. In DC, there are many celebrations throughout the month as well. The day largely originated in Mexico, where it is mostly observed, but it is also observed also in other places, especially by people of Mexican heritage. The significance of this day is to pray and remember friends and family members who have passed away, and celebrations include creating home altars or ofrendas to remember the dead and eating traditional meals. Check out all of the Día de los Muertos events happening in the next month in the nation’s capital.
Where to Celebrate Día de los Muertos in DC
Early Release Wednesday: Día de Los Muertos
Visit the Mary Riley Styles Library in Falls Church, Virginia on October 19th at 3:30pm for an educational and art filled hour centered around the Mexican Celebration of Día de Los Muertos. Children in Kindergarten to 5th grade are welcome to join this Wednesday to learn about the holiday and listen to Miss Claudia share memories of when she celebrated Día de los Muertos as a child in Mexico. This event will also include constructing ofrendas to celebrate at home as well. There are a limited number of seats, so be sure to register now!
Día de los Muertos Family Day at the Smithsonian American Art Museum
On October 29th from 11:30am to 3:00pm, the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Renwick Gallery is hosting Día de los Muertos Family Day at the Smithsonian American Art Museum on 8th and G Street NW. Featured will be live performances from Ballet Folklorico Mi Herencia Mexicana, Mariachi Aguila DC, and Sol y Rumba, face painting, and Día de los Muertos themed crafts for all ages. This event can also be celebrated online. Read more about this fun and free event here.
Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead Special Concert with Quetzal
On October 29th from 2:00pm to 3:00pm, join Quetzal at the Potomac Atrium at the American Indian Museum DC. Hosted by the National Museum of the American Indian and the National Museum of the American Latino, enjoy music and celebrate the return of ancestors with a special Día de los Muertos concert featuring the Grammy award-winning band Quetzal. Quetzal is a bilingual rock group with roots in the cultural and social justice landscape of East Los Angeles. Its goal is to create great music that tells the stories of marginalized people’s struggles and resistance. Learn more about the concert here.
Party at Shmidt Spirits Distillery
Enjoy cocktails and food on October 29th from 6:00pm to 9:00pm at Shmidt Spirits Distillery to celebrate Mexican heritage at their Día de los Muertos party. The distillery will be serving craft cocktails, locally made Mexican food, and celebrating the Day of the Dead. Founder Arthur Shmidt mentions that there are two parts of his childhood in Jalisco, Mexico that come up most often: Dia de los Muertos, and Agua Fresca. This October, Shmidt Spirits is celebrating with Día de los Muertos themed cocktails, Mexican food, an ofrenda table (so be sure to bring a photo of a loved one if you’d like to place it on the table), a salsa exhibition, and costumes. Read more about the event here.
To coincide with David Amoroso’s exhibit “Entre Dos Mundos”, ARTfactory is hosting a free Dia de los Muertos Celebration. The event will include live music, traditional food & more! The solo art exhibit “Entre Dos Mundos (Between Two Worlds)” was created by David Amoroso and will be up until November 5th. Amorose explains his exhibit in this description: “Whether feeling displaced from a culture while assimilating to a new one, or feeling consumed by daily life and pondering what the afterlife may hold for you – this collection of paintings is intended to capture the energy, images and nostalgia of two worlds I am drawn to.” On Tuesday, November 1st from 6:00pm to 8:00pm celebrate Día de los Muertos at the ARTFactory to align with Amoroso’s work. Learn more about the exhibit and event and register here.