‘Tis the season for ghost and goblins, but it is also the season for something I consider to be much more beautiful. It still involves skeletons, however, Dia de los Muertos has a much deeper meaning that becomes clear at Longmont’s Dia de los Muertos.
The city has been celebrating Dia de los Muertos for 18 years, and it’s the largest celebration of Day of the Dead in Colorado. This isn’t surprising given that the city has a vibrant Hispanic heritage.
On October 12, Longmont Museum debuted this year’s Day of the Dead altars at their annual exhibition. These altars represent hours of work by family members of the deceased or fans of the deceased (the ofrenda, or altar in English, doesn’t need to be in remembrance of a family member although many are).
The exhibition includes Xólotl: Dios Perro, an alebrije sculpture by Oscar Becerra from Mexico City. At the beginning of the month, Becerra came to Longmont to discuss his incredible work.
I visited this year’s Dia de dos Muertos exhibit at the Longmont Museum and learned a lot and I have no doubt that you will learn a lot too. While it’s sobering to walk among altars made in honor of the dead, the colorful displays are a celebration of life like nothing I’ve ever personally encountered.
At the recommendation of one of the museum staff, I went home and watched “Coco.” While it is a Disney cartoon, “Coco” is a wonderful depiction of Day of the Dead, as well as educational for those of us who know very little about the holiday beyond dancing skeletons. “Coco” is free on Netflix.
The Dia de los Muertos exhibit runs through November 6, but a special celebration will occur on November 3, 2018. The “Family Celebration” takes place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The museum will offer free admission and there will be live music, sugar skull making, traditional food and more. Guests are encouraged to dress in their best calaca (skeleton) attire.
Leading up to the event, enjoy The Living & The Dead: An Evening of Storytelling on Thursday, October 25, Sugar Skull Making Day on Sunday, October 28 and Stirring the Melting Pot: A Panel Discussion of Cultural Appropriation on Thursday, November 1.
Learn more about Day of the Dead at the Longmont Museum by visiting LongmontColorado.gov.
You are encouraged to Dance, Stay and Play for Dia de los Muertos in Longmont. I plan on attending the Catrina Ball on the Friday before Family Day at the Longmont Museum.
The Catrina Ball & Gigantes Fiesta & Procession in Longmont starts at 5 p.m. at 4th on Main Street and Coffman Street and is hosted by Firehouse Art Center. The festivities include a colorful procession to Dickens Opera House for the ball ($10). Guests dress up for the occasion but if you don’t have the skills to paint your face ahead of time, like me, you can have it done at Firehouse Art Center.
The 6th Annual Catrina Ball at Dickens Opera House features drinks, food by Jefe’s Tacos & Tequila, dancers, a DJ and an art auction. Learn more at FirehouseArt.org. I can’t wait and I hope that you’ll join me for two days of fun in Longmont.
Discounts are available on the night (November 2) at partner hotels including Fairfield Inn and Candlewood Suites. There are also numerous alters created by community members around town. There are a self-guided tours, guided tours or trolley tours available. Learn more about Dia de los Muertos tours at DowntownLongmont.com.
Dia de los Muertos
Day of the Dead
Catrina Ball, November 2 | Family Day, November 3
This Featured Festival brought to you on HeidiTown by Visit Longmont.
Disclaimer: I do not profess to know a great deal about this holiday that is celebrated by people in Mexico as well as in other parts of the world. This celebration in Longmont is an excellent opportunity for you to learn more and explore a celebration that will shed new light on what is often considered a somber subject.