These are 12 Day of the Dead events that are happening live this year

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The festive spirit of Day of the Dead will rise again this year with several live events returning to Southern California with altars, art and music and people dressed in colorful costumes to honor the memory of those who have passed.

Day of the Dead, which falls on Nov. 1 and 2, is not about mourning those who have died but about  celebrating their lives with a combination of Aztec rituals and Catholic beliefs with the altar, which is made up of offerings in memory of the dead, as the focal point of the tradition.

Here are a dozen events taking part throughout Southern California.

  • Kathy Quinn poses for a photo during the Riverside Day of the Dead event in downtown Riverside on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019. The free event returns to downtown Riverside Nov. 6. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Aztec dance group Makuill Ollin Ocelot will perform sacred dances as part of a Nov. 6 Day of the Dead celebration in San Bernardino. (Photo courtesy Makuill Ollin Ocelot)

  • Women in costume pose as they attend Hollywood Forever Cemetery’s 19th annual Dia De Los Muertos event on October 27, 2018. The event returns Oct. 30. (Photo by Chris Delmas / AFP) (Photo credit should read CHRIS DELMAS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Grand Park Downtown Día de los Muertos returns Oct. 22-Nov. 2. (Photo by Beau Ryan)



Los Angeles  County

Grand Park

When:  Oct. 22 -Nov. 2

Where: 200 N. Grand Ave, Los Angeles

Details: The ninth annual Grand Park Downtown Día de los Muertos returns with a 12-day public art installation taking place at the park between Grand Avenue and Hill Street. The installation will include 20 altars made by professional artists and local community organizations. The Noche de Ofrenda  (Night of Offerings), which didn’t happen last year due to the pandemic, returns as a live event on Oct. 23. It will take place 7-9 p.m. at the Grand Park Performance Lawn near Hill Street and will include a communal circle, poetry and dance performances by Danza Divina de Los Angeles and a folklorico ensemble.

Cost: Free


Downtown Santa Monica

When: 5-10 p.m. Oct. 30

Where: Third Street Promenade, 101 Wilshire Blvd. Santa Monica

Details: The celebration at Santa Monica’s popular tourist spot on Oct. 30 will include performance by acts like Santa Monica Ballet Folklórico, Ballet Folklórico Flor de Mayo, Santa Monica Youth Orchestra Mariachi Perla del Oeste,  DJ Funky Caramelo and DJ Sizzle Fantastic. The celebration will continue through  Nov. 2 with a display of several 14-foot-tall La Catrina sculptures  by Los Angeles-based artist Ricardo Soltero throughout the Promenade. Altars created by local organizations and artists will also be on display through Nov. 2.

Cost: Free


Hollywood Forever Cemetery 

When: Oct. 30

Where: 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles.

Details: This year’s celebration, which is usually one of the biggest around, will be split into two events. Dia de los Muertos will be a more family-oriented event taking place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  It will include a children’s plaza with arts and crafts vendors, traditional dance performances, art exhibitions and, of course, altars. The Noche de Los Muertos will be for the grown folk and will take place from 5 p.m. to midnight. This will be a more music focused event with Chilean singer Mon Laferte headlining a night of music that will include other performers like Little Jesus Y La Bamba, Mexican singer Flor Amargo and the Son Jarocho ensemble Conjunto Tenocelomeh.

Cost: $40 for Dia de Los Muertos, $50 for Noche de los Muertos


San Pedro Día de los Muertos Festival

When: 3-7 p.m. Oct. 24

Where: 398 W. Sixth St., San Pedro

Details: While this is usually a large and lively event that attracts about 10,000 people to San Pedro who come to listen to live music and walk the streets in Day of the Dead attire, this year due to COVID-19 the event will be a bit smaller and more intimate. It will include a 2 p.m. free screening of the film “Coco,” at the Warner Grand Theater and from 3-7 p.m. there will be altars, mariachi and folkorico performances plus food trucks and art and craft booth at the corner of Sixth and Mesa.

Cost: Free but tickets need to be reserved.


Orange County

Bowers Museum

When: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 24

Where: Bowers Museum,  2002 North Main St., Santa Ana

Details: People can honor human and pet loved ones who have passed at this event by bringing a photo of a late relative or pet to be added to the community altar. The outdoor event will also include music by Joel Aceves and Los Cuates, a dance performance by Relampago del Cielo, art displays and food vendors. Admission to the museum is not included with this event but Santa Ana residents can enter the venue for free with proof of residency.

Cost: Free for festival


Dia de los Muertos “To Go”

When: 3:30-4:30 p.m. Nov. 2

Where: Santa Ana Cemetery, 1919 E Santa Clara Ave., Anaheim Cemetery, 1400 E Sycamore St. and  El Toro Memorial Park, 25751 Trabuco Rd, Lake Forest.

Details: The Orange County Cemetery District usually holds popular Day of the Dead celebrations that attract hundreds of people to its cemeteries. This year, due to COVID-19, it is being scaled back quite a bit but nevertheless, the celebration will continue with a “To Go” event. From 3:30-4:30 p.m., or until supplies last, people can pull up to the Santa Ana Cemetery, Anaheim Cemetery or El Toro Memorial Park to pick up bags filled with Day of the Dead treats for the kids. The to-go bags will include things like coloring books, foam sugar skull kits to decorate at home, stickers and other goodies. The District will also give people a chance to build altars to their loved ones who are buried at all three District cemeteries. The altars will be left up until Nov. 16.

Cost: Free


Fairhaven Memorial Park & Mortuary

When: 12 p.m. Nov. 2

Where: Fairhaven Memorial Park & Mortuary, 1702 Fairhaven Ave., Santa Ana

Details: A bilingual remembrance service will take place outdoors in front of the Historic Mausoleum. There will also be a performance by  Mariachi Tapatío and Las Estrella Folkloric Dancers from Orange County School of the Arts. Come early and be hungry because the first 100 people in attendance will get a free concha, a traditional Mexican sweet bread roll treat.

Cost: Free


Pretend City Children’s Museum

When: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 3

Where: 29 Hubble, Irvine

Details: The younger children will have fun at this celebration as they get to  listen to stories that tell of the traditions of the celebration and how people can honor deceased loved ones.  Kids will also have a chance to  make their very own marigold to take home.

Cost: Museum admission is $13.95


Riverside County

Moreno Valley Day of the Dead

When: 6-10 p.m. Oct. 29

Where: Moreno Valley Civic Amphitheater, 14075 Frederick St, Moreno Valley.

Details: Altar displays and live entertainment from Ballet Folkcorico troupes plus a Michelada Garden and artists booth will makeup this free outdoor event. And for Selena fans, the tribute band Dreaming of You will perform as well.

Cost: Free


Riverside Day of the Dead

When: 1- 10 p.m. Nov.6

Where: Market Street  between University Avenue and 14th Street

Details: Details of the event were not yet available but event organizer Cosme Cordova said it will take place on Market Street  between University Avenue and 14th Street with altars installed at White Park. Before the pandemic, the event has included a La Catrina pageant, a chalk art competition and live music attracting thousands of people to the downtown area.

Cost: Free

Information: On instagram @RiversideDayoftheDead

San Bernardino County

San Bernardino Dia De Los Muertos

When: 1-10 p.m. Nov. 6

Where: Enterprise Building,  320 N E St, San Bernardino

Details: The Haili Wailele Film Arts/ Foundation is partnering with the Enterprise Building for their inaugural San Bernardino Dia De Los Muertos for an outdoor event that will include dance performance by acts like Ballet Folklorico and Danza Azteca and live music from groups like the  tribal Latin rock act Quetzalcoatl Band. People are encouraged to bring offerings for the Community Altar. And expect plenty of food, drink, arts and retail vendors as well.

Cost: Free


Makuill Ollin Ocelotl

When: 5 p.m. Nov. 6

Where: The Fraternal Order of Eagles, 895 E. Ninth St. San Bernardino

Details: In honor of Day of the Dead the San Bernardino-based Aztec dance group Makuill Ollin Ocelot will perform sacred dances that honor those who have passed away. The dance ceremony begins at 6 p.m. and goes on until 9 p.m.

Cost: Free

Information: On Instagram at makuill_ollin_ocelotl