Dia de Muertos on the Santa Fe Plaza

Dia de Muertos on the Santa Fe Plaza

Santa Fe, America’s oldest capital city, is looking forward to welcoming a special cultural tradition to this side of our southern border. Some parts of Mexico have a uniquely beautiful and meaningful way of honoring their dead, and now, this one-of-a-kind tradition –– a Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration –– is joining the Santa Fe holiday calendar in October 2022.

There is great emphasis paced on maintaining ties with deceased ancestors, who are believed to continue to exist on a different plane. The belief behind Day of the Dead practices is that spirits return to the world of the living for one day of the year to be with their families. This time-honored tradition gives families an opportunity to remember loved ones and heal feelings of loss with festivities rather than mourning. It’s a time for joy and for celebrating of the lives of family members or friends, a time to honor them and respectfully welcome them back to their earthly home to share the festive spirit and rejoice with those who love and miss them.

It is customary to prepare an altar, known as an ofrenda, in honor of a loved one. The ofrenda is adorned with special offerings to welcome the spirit home. Food and drinks as well as pictures and favorite personal items are placed on the ofrenda for refreshment after the long trip home from the afterworld.

On Friday, October 28th, the event will open at 4 pm with mariachi music and boleros (a form of 18 th C. Spanish dance music) on the Santa Fe Bandstand, which will be festooned with papeles picados, the colorful cut paper decorations seen at celebrations throughout Mexico. Food trucks will be on-site to serve the signature Mexican foods that over time have enriched New Mexico’s own cuisine.

Ofrenda decorating kits will be available and individuals can add their own remembrances. Expect to see brightly colored masks and decorative skulls and hundreds of marigolds, the flowers traditionally used on this special occasion!

For Saturday, October 29th, Santa Fe businesses are generously sponsoring the construction of ofrendas to be decorated in traditional fashion. Looking to the sustainability of the event and the structures, the ofrendas will be designed to be re-used annually so that this annual commemoration can continue seamlessly. Meow Wolf will provide face-painting with glow-in-the-dark paint and food trucks will again be on-site to serve traditional foods.

When the Saturday night sky darkens, the Plaza will light up with a candlelight parade, whose radiance will be enhanced by special glow-in-the-dark lighting donated by the Public Service Company of New Mexico. And as the Plaza glimmers, those who remembered to wear their dancing shoes will claim the space in front of the Bandstand to let their feet chase away the sorrows of loss.

Date: Friday, October 28, 2022 at 4:00pm-10:00pm; and Saturday, October 29, 2022, 10am-10:00pm