Don't lump Dia de Muertos – Day of the Dead – into the same spooky, sugary category as Halloween because the holiday is actually quite different.
Unlike Halloween, Dia de los Muertos festivities last for a few days – in 2019 it runs from Oct. 31-Nov. 2 – and is primarily a celebration of life and joy. It is also a time to honor deceased family members and some believe this is a time when "the veil" between life and death is the thinnest and therefore offers the chance to communicate with loved ones who have departed.
During Day of the Dead, in cities from Mexico to Milwaukee, celebrators wear colorful makeup and costumes that are often skull-themed, throw parties and parades, sing, dance, eat, drink and make offerings to lost loved ones via ofrendas (altars).
Milwaukee is rich with Mexican culture and a fantastic place to celebrate Dia de Muertos. Here are five local events to get in on the fun.
- The Urban Ecology Center in the Menomonee Valley is having a Dia de Muertos party with Escuela Verde from 6 to 9 pm. on Friday, Nov. 1 with free food, Aztec dancers, live music, all-ages activities, a night hike and more. Find out more here.
- Latino Art, Inc., 1028 S. 9th St., hosts a grand opening of their annual ofrenda exhibit with a reception at 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 1. The ofrendas remain on display until Nov. 22. Check it out here.
- Walker's Point Center for the Arts celebrates its 27th annual Day of the Dead celebration with an exhibit featuring the art of 20 Mexican women from Oaxaca. This is their first American showing and it runs through Sat., Nov. 16. More here.
- Cafe Corazon Mexican restaurant in Bay View closes out Day of the Dead with a free evening of Latin Jazz on Sunday, Nov. 3 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Go here for more info.
- Visit any of Milwaukee’s Mexican restaurants this weekend! There are so many to choose from so swing by your favorite – or if you need a suggestion go here.
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.