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 grew up on Milwaukee's East Side and today, she lives in the Walker's Point neighborhood with her partner and two sons.
As a full time senior writer, editorial manager and self-described experience junkie, Molly has written thousands of articles about Milwaukee (and a few about New Orleans, Detroit, Indianapolis, Boston and various vacation spots in Wisconsin) that range in subject from where to get the best cup of coffee to an in-depth profile on the survivors of the iconic Norman apartment building that burned down in the '90s.
She also once got a colonic just to report on it, but that's enough on that.
Always told she had a "radio voice," Molly found herself as a regular contributor on FM102, 97WMYX and 1130WISN with her childhood radio favorite, Gene Mueller.
Molly's poetry, essays and articles appeared in many publications including USA Today, The Writer, The Sun Magazine and more. She has a collection of poetry, "Topless," and is slowly writing a memoir.
In 2009, Molly won a Milwaukee Press Club Award. She served as the Narrator / writer-in-residence at the Pfister Hotel from 2013-2014. She is also a story slam-winning storyteller who has performed with The Moth, Ex Fabula and Risk!
When she's not writing, interviewing or mom-ing, Molly teaches tarot card classes, gardens, sits in bars drinking Miller products and dreams of being in a punk band again.