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How to Spend Your Day of the Dead

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Photo by dianasour via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr

There's already a ton of cool post-Halloween and pre-Election Day things to do on this Daylight Savings eve, but to top it all off, today is the day that many celebrate Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Vibrant and elaborate altars are built to honor loved ones who have passed away, and the event is focused on celebration, not mourning, although one of the chief motifs is indeed calaveras (skulls). Traditions vary from family to family and community to community, but if you'd like to participate in the festivities, there are many large-scale events going on around town today and tomorrow.

Saturday November 1st

  • Festival de la Gente is considered LA's biggest Day of the Dead street fair. There will be live music, art displays, children's activities, and puppets. Runs today and tomorrow from 1-9 p.m. at Barker Block (519 S Hewitt St., LA 90013) and is free.
  • Hollywood Forever Cemetery is getting into the celebration with sacred ceremonial tributes, altar creations and performances among some of Hollywood's most famous celebrity graves. They will have food available for purchase, and though admission is free, donations are welcome. It's happening from 4-11 p.m. at the cemetery (6000 Santa Monica Blvd.). Call (323) 447-0999 if you need more info.
  • The Olvera Street Merchants Dia de los Muertos Fiesta is always a popular draw, as the streets are filled with processions at 7 p.m. for nine nights, of which the final two are this weekend. Check out the elaborate altars at the Gazebo and wander the historic streets of the market today (and tomorrow) from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Hop on the Metro and head to Union Station!
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Sunday November 2nd

  • One of the city's longest running and most authentic celebration of the Day of the Dead, is run by the folks at Self-Help Graphics. Their East Los Angeles community arts celebration includes a procession, crafts, traditional food an entertainment. The fest opens at 12:30 p.m. and runs until 11 p.m., and the Procession is at 4 p.m. Participants in the processional are asked to meet at Cinco Puntos (Cesar Chavez & Lorena) by 4, and thenproceed to Self Help Graphics & Art (3802 Cesar E. Chavez Avenue at Gage.) The event is free, but donations are welcomed.
  • If you're closer to the 818 you might want to head over to Canoga Park, where they'll have their Main Street Dia de los Muertos festival [warning, their site plays music], which serves as a benefit to the city. It's happening on Sherman Way between Canoga and Vassar Avenues, and runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • It's also Day 2 of the weekend-long Olvera Street Dia de los Muertos Fiesta, so you can still head to the Gazebo on Olvera Street from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.